Changes in 40th District Senate race

Gonzalez drops out of race ... Ranker leads in fund-raising ... Henderson picks up two more key endorsements

State Senate candidate Ken Henderson picked up two key endorsements last week: those of retiring senator Harriet Spanel and Paul Gonzalez, a former Mount Vernon City Council member who dropped out of the Senate race.

Still, San Juan County Councilman Kevin Ranker leads the now five-person race in fund-raising — $61,000 to Henderson’s $53,000 as of Friday — and his campaign has reported visiting 7,500 homes in the district.

Ranker’s latest major endorsement comes from the union representing Boeing machinists.

“We’re still ahead in doorbelling and in fund-raising, and I’m feeling really positive about that,” Ranker said.

The top two vote-getters in the Aug. 19 primary advance to the Nov. 4 general election.

The biggest concerns from district residents Ranker’s visited? Growth, environment and economy — three of his five areas of focus, and areas in which he’s worked as executive director of Friends of the San Juans, chairman of the Puget Sound Salmon Recovery Council, and county councilman.

“People are very concerned about how we’re going to accept and promote growth in the future. They really love our quality of life and they’re concerned that that could change. With development pressure and change in population, how do we maintain our quality of life?

“The other issue is our environment. And they’re concerned about the economy. They’re concerned about their ability to stay in the community.

“The state has to fully fund education. We must redefine basic education. Our school districts are seeing the crisis that they are because of issues at the state level.”

Ranker said not getting Spanel’s endorsement was “disappointing” — they have worked together on several issues — but he noted that her endorsement of Henderson “spoke very highly of both of our campaigns, and I appreciate that.”

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