Haugen concedes to Bailey in hard fought Senate race

Democratic state Sen. Mary Margaret Haugen today conceded defeat to Republican Rep. Barbara Bailey, concluding one of the year’s most expensive battles for a legislative seat.

“The latest returns make it clear that the voters of the 10th District have elected to move in a different direction,” Haugen said in a prepared statement that makes no mention of her Republican rival.

Haugen, the powerful chairwoman of the Senate Transportation Committee, was seeking a sixth term in the Senate. Republicans targeted her for defeat and hit her with one mailer after another through a variety of independent political committees. All told, more than $1.1 million was spent in the contest.

In the statement, Haugen cited her vote for the state’s gay marriage law as a reason she won’t be serving another term in the 10th Legislative District that encompasses all of Island County and parts of Snohomish and Skagit counties.

“There’s a strong likelihood that my vote for marriage equality earlier this year played a factor in this election,” she wrote. “I don’t regret my vote for a second. I’m proud of that vote. I know in my heart I did the right thing. In my three decades in the Legislature, I’ve never hesitated to take hits for doing what I felt was right. That vote was one of the most soul-searching, and one of the best, I ever cast.”

As of Friday afternoon Bailey, of Oak Harbor, was beating Haugen, of Camano Island, by a margin of 52.8 percent to 47.2 percent.

Here is Haugen’s full statement:

OLYMPIA – Sen. Mary Margaret Haugen, D-Camano Island, released the following statement today regarding her campaign for re-election to the 10th Legislative District:

“The latest returns make it clear that the voters of the 10th District have elected to move in a different direction.

“I am grateful to my constituents for having trusted me to represent their interests for 30 years, and I am proud of what I’ve been able to do for my district and my state.

“Throughout my political career, I’ve never stopped fighting for the things that matter most to my community, from education to seniors, from farms to public safety. The people I’ve fought for know it, and the people I’ve had to fight against know it, too. Just look at WSU-Everett. It took 20 to get that school, but I kept at it until we got it.

“There’s a strong likelihood that my vote for marriage equality earlier this year played a factor in this election. I don’t regret my vote for a second. I’m proud of that vote. I know in my heart I did the right thing. In my three decades in the Legislature, I’ve never hesitated to take hits for doing what I felt was right. That vote was one of the most soul-searching, and one of the best, I ever cast.

“It’s time to move on now, and I’m ready to do that. I look forward to spending more time with my family, who have been so supportive of me throughout my political career.

“I will always be thankful to the wonderful people of the 10th District who gave me the opportunity to work to better our community for so long, and I look forward to seeing you all while I am out and about.”

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