Retired naval commander Doug Roulstone sailed toward victory in the Republican congressional primary Tuesday, pledging a spirited fight in November for the job serving Snohomish and five other counties.
Roulstone, 56, of Snohomish, led Teri Moats, 49, of Arlington, by a nearly 3-1 margin in initial returns. The winner will take on U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen, D-Wash., who was unchallenged in the primary.
Even before the votes were counted, Roulstone challenged Larsen to several debates leading up to the Nov. 7 general election.
“We’ll talk about the issues and let the voters decide,” he said Tuesday.
Also Tuesday, U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash. and Republican Mike McGavick each won handily, as expected, over less known and underfunded opponents.
Democrat Steve Hobbs held a slim lead over Lillian Kaufer for the party nomination for state senate in the 44th Legislative District. The winner will face incumbent state Sen. Dave Schmidt, R-Mill Creek, who was unopposed in Tuesday’s election.
State Rep. Al O’Brien, D-Mountlake Terrace, seems assured of another term in office after easily dispatching Democrat challenger Terry Buholm of Bothell. No Republican is seeking the seat in the 1st Legislative District.
In the 32nd District, State Sen. Darlene Fairley, D-Lake Forest Park, was soundly defeating Chris Eggen of Shoreline in their primary. She’ll face Republican David Baker of Kenmore in November. He had no foe Tuesday.
Snohomish County PUD Commissioner Kathy Vaughn will get a chance at another term. She held a commanding lead Tuesday over Eric Teegarden and Michael Plunkett. Teegarden held a slim edge on Plunkett for the second spot in the race.
In Island County, three Republicans were in a tight contest for the party’s nominee for sheriff. On Tuesday night, Mark Brown of Oak Harbor was leading L.C. “Lenny” Marlborough of Coupeville and De Dennis of Oak Harbor.
The winner will meet Democrat Jay Wallace, a former Island County deputy sheriff.
The Larsen-Roulstone congressional match-up is attracting money and attention.
Larsen had raised $1.2 million even before holding fundraisers in Everett and Seattle on Monday. He has already spent nearly half of that to buy time on television for commercials.
Roulstone had raised $600,000 by Sept. 1 with about a third of the amount available in cash when the month began. He’s been aided by visits from Vice President Dick Cheney and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.
Larsen didn’t sound concerned this week.
“I’m going to talk about how I am the local guy and about my record of accomplishments,” Larsen said Monday. “I could say he’s a guy handpicked by the administration and we don’t need another rubber stamp for the president.”
Roulstone replied Tuesday that Larsen has voted “90 percent of the time” with the Democrats’ leading liberals, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Rep. Jim McDermott, D-Wash.
Larsen of Everett is seeking a fourth term serving the 2nd Congressional District, which stretches from Mukilteo to the Canadian border. It covers land in Snohomish, Island, Whatcom, Skagit and San Juan counties.
In the 44th Legislative District, Hobbs, 36, of Lake Stevens entered the race first, snaring the backing of Snohomish County Executive Aaron Reardon and former Gov. Gary Locke. Party activists urged Kaufer, 38, of Silver Firs, into the contest later. She earned the support of the district’s Democratic committee and its two state representatives, Hans Dunshee and John Lovick.
Hobbs and Kaufer both used the term “cautiously optimistic” to sum up their mood Tuesday night.
Hobbs said his lead was “based on the issues that were important out there – transportation, health care and jobs.”
Kaufer said she is by no means discouraged. She said Hobbs’ labor support translated into early votes on his side, while her campaign put on a late get-out-the-vote calling effort prior to Election Day.
County election officials said as many as 50,000 ballots countywide could still be returned.
“I think the numbers are going to change dramatically over the rest of the week,” Kaufer said.
Reporter Jerry Cornfield: 360-352-8623 or firstname.lastname@example.org.