Larsen takes commanding lead in 2nd District congressional primary

U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen, D-Bellingham.  - Contributed photo
U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen, D-Bellingham.
— image credit: Contributed photo

When push came to shove, it wasn't even close.

Incumbent Rick Larsen, D-Everett, grabbed a commanding lead in Washington state's District 2 congressional primary, collecting 56.5 percent of 79,118 ballots cast in the three-way race.

Independent candidate Mike Lapointe, challenging the six-term congressman for the second-consecutive election, came in a distant third, garnering 11 percent of votes cast, 8,946.Lapointe

If trends hold, Larsen, seeking a seventh-consecutive term in the U.S. House of Representatives, will square off in November against Republican Party challenger B.J. Guillot. The top two voter-getters advance to the Nov. 4 general election. Gulliot gathered 32 percent of ballots cast, a total of 24,449 votes, in Tuesday's early election results.

"Growing up in Arlington, I learned the values of community, service and commitment. These same values guide my work today," Larsen said in a post-election press release. "That’s why I’m fighting to raise the federal minimum wage, combat income inequality, create jobs in our community and fix our broken immigration system.”

On the eve of the primary, Lapointe drew the endorsement of the San Juan Democratic Party, an abrupt change in course for the group and its long-standing support for the District 2 incumbent. The party cited Larsen's failure to "adequately" address the negative impacts of the proposed coal export at Cherry Point and expansion of navy jet-noise from the Whidbey Island-based fleet of Growlers for breaking ranks with the longtime party favorite.

Party Chairman David Dehlendorf the primary results come as no surprise. Larsen has strong support from the party on the mainland and, as an incumbent, has the all-important advantage of "name familiarity," Dehlendorf said.

"Mike's not real well known, particularly on the mainland," he said. "He's fighting an uphill battle."

The 2nd District encompasses the entirety of Island and San Juan counties, and portions of Skagit, Snohomish and Whatcom counties, mainly in areas west of Interstate 5.

In San Juan County, Lapointe and Guillot ran neck-and-neck. Lapointe garnered 20 percent of the local vote, 768, and Guillot collected 22 percent of Tuesday's results, 839 votes. A minimum of 350 more ballots have yet to be counted, according to the county Elections department.

The District 2 congressional election is the only contested race on the local primary ballot. In other local primary results, incumbent state 40th district Rep. Kristine Lytton, D-Anacortes, garnered 71 percent of ballots cast, 2,683, and opponent Daniel Miller of San Juan Island collected 28 percent, 1,065.

State Rep. Jeff Morris, D-Mount Vernon, drew 2,877 votes in an uncontested race and San Juan County Prosecuting Attorney Randy Gaylord, also unopposed, drew 2,580 votes (the number of write-in votes are not totaled in local results).

As of Wednesday, voter-turnout for the Aug. 5 primary in San Juan County stands at 32.6 percent, with 11,966 registered voters and 3,908 ballots counted. Primary results are expected to be updated Thursday. County Auditor Milene Henley, manager of local elections, anticipates voter-turnout for the 2014 primary to reach 40 percent.


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