In the end, though, incumbent Sen. Rosemary McAuliffe, D- Bothell, held onto her seat in the 1st Legislative District.
Her colleague state Sen. Mary Margaret Haugen, D-Camano Island, however, appears to be losing her final bid for re-election. Haugen, who has represented the people of the 10th Legislative District for 30 years, said earlier that, win or lose, this would be her last race.
Believing the race too close to call on Tuesday night, Haugen declined to comment.
In heated contests in which spending in each race eclipsed $1 million, Haugen was challenged by state Rep. Barbara Bailey, R-Oak Harbor; and McAuliffe faced Republican Dawn McCravey of Bothell.
In early returns, McAuliffe easily led McCravey; Bailey was beating Haugen by a few percentage points.
Bailey credited her showing to the people involved in her campaign.
"It was really about bringing accountability back to the district in regards to how their money is being spent," Bailey said. "We need to fund our education system properly and get people back to work. I look forward to being a part of the group of people who are going to get our state back on track."
While the candidates poured plenty of money into broadcast commercials and mailers, the biggest chunk of cash flowing into these contests came from political committees created just for this year's elections.
The 10th Legislative District includes all of Island County and parts of Snohomish and Skagit counties.
Bailey, in her fifth term as a state representative, led Haugen in the primary election with 53 percent of the vote.
The 1st Legislative District includes areas of Snohomish and King counties such as Bothell, Brier, Mountlake Terrace and Kirkland. In the primary, McAuliffe took 44 percent of the vote there, McCravey had 42 percent. Guy Palumbo of Maltby received 14 percent vote and then endorsed McAuliffe.
McAuliffe and McCravey, who both have served on the Northshore School Board in Bothell, were supported by groups essentially on opposite ends of public education issues. McAuliffe was supported by the Washington Education Association and McCravey by a group called Stand for Children, which supported charter schools. McAuliffe has been a fixture in the state Senate since the early 1990s. This is McCravey's first foray into politics.
Haugen and Bailey agreed throughout the campaign that the state ferry system is important to their district.
Last year Haugen got tough with state ferry workers, most of whom then endorsed Bailey. Haugen, who normally has good union support, said the state had to make the ferry system more financially efficient and that meant cutting labor costs. Bailey admitted she was surprised to get the backing of the ferry workers.
Gale Fiege: 425-339-3427; email@example.com.
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