1st remains Democratic


Herald Writer

Incumbents in the 1st Legislative District, all Democrats seeking re-election to the House and Senate, sailed into office Tuesday.

Democrats will continue to occupy the three positions in the 1st District, which represents the southeastern corner of Snohomish County and northeast King County, including areas of Bothell, Brier, Lynnwood and Mountlake Terrace.

Incumbents Sen. Rosemary McAuliffe, D-Bothell, and House Reps. Al O’Brien, D-Mountlake Terrace, and Jeanne Edwards, D-Bothell, will return to Olympia in January.

Voters in the district are commuters, many of whom navigate I-405 from Snohomish County to north King County five days a week.

Candidates in the district who supported improving mass transit — the three Democratic incumbents — rolled easily into office, defeating Republican opponents who favored the construction of additional lanes and new roads.

Securing her third term, McAuliffe, who defeated Republican opponent Leo Van Hollebeke, kept the issues focused on education and improving public transit. McAuliffe supports light rail, heavy rail, carpool lanes, buses and incentives for people to use them.

Van Hollebeke, on the other hand, supports a mix of new roads and new forms of public transit.

Van Hollebeke is a former Democrat who switched to the GOP in 1994. At the time, he said the Democratic Party had drifted too far to the left. His father, Ray Van Hollebeke, was the district’s Democratic senator from 1973 to 1981.

Education was the second biggest issue with voters who appeared to side with candidates who opposed charter schools.

McAuliffe, chair of the Senate Education Committee, is a noted opponent of charter schools, while Van Hollebeke supported their formation.

Voters in the 1st District also returned the two House incumbents, both Democrats, to Olympia.

In the race for House Position 1, O’Brien defeated Republican opponent Eric Marrs, of Kirkland.

O’Brien’s bid for a third term proved successful in a campaign that highlighted the two candidates’ starkly different views on alleviating gridlock.

O’Brien is calling for a mix of building new roads and offering more public transportation. Voters appeared to reject Marrs’ contention that road improvements should have priority over improving mass transit.

In the race for the second House position, Edwards defeated Republican contender Andy Vanderhoff, of Kirkland.

The two candidates disagreed on the issues of transportation and education.

Edwards opposes merit pay for teachers; Vanderhoff supports it.

Edwards supports an improved mass transit system that would increase the number of buses, and provide incentives to commuters to join a van pool or hop on the bus.

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