By Evan Smith
Incumbent Democratic 1st Legislative District State Rep. Luis Moscoso and Republican challenger Ed Barton both see reasons to be optimistic about the November general election as Moscoso continues to hold a small lead over Barton in results of the Tuesday, Aug. 5, primary posted through Friday, Aug. 15.
Moscoso had 44.15 percent of the votes in the top-two primary to 43.43 percent for Barton and 12.42 percent for Democrat Dave Griffin.
Moscoso said Wednesday that the primary results were what he had expected.
He compared the primary results to those of the primary before he won his first term in 2010, after his Republican opponent had a strong lead in the primary with Griffin a close third.
“My percentage of the vote is up 18 points from then,” he noted. “The Republican vote count is down by 5 percent from 2010. The combined Democratic percentage is nearly 57 percent,” well above 2010.
“All of this in an off-year election with lower voter turnout that typically helps Republican candidates,” he said.
“We are running a great campaign and will keep working hard to get out our message of investing in K-12 and higher education, funding transportation infrastructure, and finishing on time in 2015.”
Barton questioned the significance of comparing Democratic primary votes to Republican votes.
“The 12 percent of voters who voted for Dave Griffin are either protest votes, or Democrats truly disappointed with the status quo, he said. “Those voters are undecided going into November, but they clearly voted for a change within the Democratic Party representation.
“Hearing a message of fiscal responsibility and social moderation from a Republican gives them a candidate that appeals to the center and provides a change in Olympia. I expect we will be very attractive to those undecided voters.”
Barton also noted that he had run neck-and-neck with Moscoso despite having been outspent by a factor of 15 to 1 in the primary.
“Ramping up our outreach in the general election cycle will get a mainstream message out to those voters who may not be aware that they have a moderate choice, he said.
Noting that the district had voted overwhelmingly for the gay-marriage referendum and against the King County Transit proposition, Barton said, “They now have a candidate who most closely mirrors the majority of the district citizens who look for a socially moderate and fiscally accountable government.
“We will focus our efforts on getting that message out there.
“Even with historically low turnout, I believe we identified that this is truly anyone’s race, with a swing group of 10-15 percent of voters that could go either way. Those voters are the moderates who are looking for change in the status quo, common sense and fiscal sense in policy decisions, and less government involvement in their private lives, including their wallets. Those voters are right in lockstep with our positions. We need to get that message out there.
The most recent State Public Disclosure Commission reports show Moscoso having reported raising $59,611 and spending $31,723, with no reported fundraising or spending for Barton.
Griffin has yet to respond to questions about prospects for the Barton-Moscoso general election.
The 1st Legislative District includes most of Mountlake Terrace, all of Brier and Bothell, unincorporated areas of Snohomish County north and east of Bothell, north Kirkland and unincorporated areas of King County between Bothell and Kirkland.