EVERETT — Democrats snagged leads Tuesday in a pair of hard fought battles for open House seats in Snohomish and Island counties.
April Berg led Republican Mark James in their duel in the 44th Legislative District in central Snohomish County while Angie Homola was ahead of Republican Greg Gilday in their contest in the 10th Legislative District.
Meanwhile, Republican state Sen. Ron Muzzall was trailing Democrat Helen Price Johnson in a fierce contest that emerged as one of the year’s most expensive battles for a legislative seat.
Elsewhere in Snohomish County, incumbent state lawmakers were ahead in Tuesday’s first round of ballot counting.
44th Legislative District
Berg leads James 54% to 46% in their duel for House Position 2 and to succeed Rep. Jared Mead, D-Mill Creek, who did not seek re-election after being appointed to the Snohomish County Council earlier this year.
Berg, 46, of Mill Creek, is a member of the Everett School Board and Mill Creek Planning Commission. Prior to the election, Berg said she would continue to serve on the school board if elected to the Legislature.
“One thing that I learned in this process is how much our district is changing,” Berg said. “I am excited to represent folks who’ve been here a long time, their entire lives, and folks who’ve just moved in yesterday.”
James, 58, is looking for the race to tighten and turn in his favor with more vote updates.
“We’re hopeful,” said James, who serves on the Marysville City Council and the Snohomish County Planning Commission. “We’ve got some work to do. We’ll see what happens in the next few days.”
For Position 1, Rep. John Lovick is on his way to another term. He garnered 59% to 41% against Republican John Kartak, the mayor of Snohomish.
Lovick, a retired Washington State Patrol trooper, began his political career on the Mill Creek City Council. He’s served as Snohomish County sheriff and executive and is now in his second tour in the state Legislature.
The 44th District covers Lake Stevens, Mill Creek and Snohomish, part of Marysville and the outskirts of Everett.
10th Legislative District
All three races in this swing district attracted plenty of attention and hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign spending. On Tuesday, all three were really close.
Muzzall narrowly trailed Price Johnson, an Island County Commissioner, 49% to 51% in their fight for a four-term term as state senator. Nearly $3 million was spent collectively by the candidates and independent political committees funded by the political parties and interest groups.
“We knew this was going to be a tight race going in, but my supporters and the voters who have supported me — I am so grateful,” Price Johnson said.
Muzzall was appointed to the position in 2019 following the retirement of Sen. Barbara Bailey. A fourth-generation farmer, he was previously elected fire commissioner for North Whidbey Fire and Rescue. Price Johnson was the first woman elected to the Island County Commission in 2008 and also served on the South Whidbey School Board.
Democrat Angie Homola, a former Island County Commissioner, is leading Republican Greg Gilday, an attorney from Camano, 51% to 49%. They are dueling to replace Rep. Norma Smith, R-Clinton, who did not seek reelection after 12 years serving Position 1.
The contest in Postion 2 between Rep. Dave Paul, D-Oak Harbor, and Republican Bill Bruch may break records for spending on a House race. Paul, a first-term representative and administrator at Skagit Valley College, held a slight lead over Bruch, a La Conner property manager and chairman of the Skagit County Republican Party, 52% to 48%.
The two have combined to raise nearly $810,000. If they spend it all, it will be a record for candidates seeking House seats, according to records of the state Public Disclosure Commission.
The 10th District covers all of Whidbey Island and Camano Island, as well as parts of south Skagit and north Snohomish counties, including the cities of Mount Vernon, La Conner and Stanwood.
39th Legislative District
Republican incumbents appear to be holding firm to their positions representing rural areas of Snohomish, Skagit and a sliver of King counties, including Arlington, Monroe, Sultan, Gold Bar and Index.
Sen. Keith Wagoner, R-Sedro-Woolley, was ahead of Kathryn Lewandowsky of the Progressive Party 64% to 36%. Wagoner is seeking a second full term in office, he previously served as mayor of Sedro-Woolley and on the town’s council. Lewandowsky, of Arlington, was a first-time candidate with a goal to prioritize a universal health care proposal.
For House positions, Democratic challengers were no match for Rep. Robert Sutherland, R-Granite Falls, and Rep. Carolyn Eslick, R-Sultan.
In the district’s Position 1, Sutherland leads Democrat Claus Joens, a teacher from Marblemount, 58% to 42%.
Eslick was succeeding in her efforts for a second full term, leading Democrat Ryan Johnson, a truck driver and former Navy mechanic from Arlington, 61% to 39%.
38th Legislative District
Incumbent Democrats held convincing leads in the contests to represent parts of Everett, Marysville and Tulalip.
After being appointed to the seat in May, Sen. June Robinson, D-Everett, appeared poised to win the position for the first time. She led Republican challenger Bernard Moody, a first-time political candidate from Everett, 61% to 31%.
In positions Democrats have held since the 1960s, Rep. Emily Wicks and Rep. Mike Sells, both D-Everett, had solid leads over their opposition.
In Position 1, Wicks, 34, was ahead of Republican Bert Johnson 61% to 39%. Wicks was appointed in May when Robinson vacated the House position for a seat in the Senate.
Johnson, a Tulalip businessman, ran for the same position in 2018, losing to Robinson 61.4% to 38.6%.
Another term in Olympia appears to be the result for Sells who led Libertarian David Wiley, 69% to 31%. Sells, 75, chairs the House Labor Committee and will be returning to the House for the ninth straight term.
21st Legislative District
After convincing primary performances, Rep. Strom Peterson, D-Edmonds, and Rep. Lillian Ortiz-Self, D-Mukilteo, appear to be heading back to Olympia for their fourth terms.
In the district covering Mukilteo and parts of Edmonds, Everett and Lynnwood, Peterson is ahead of Republican Brian Thompson, a businessman from Edmonds, in House Position 1, 66% to 34%.
Ortiz-Self led Republican Amy Schaper 68% to 32%. In 2018, Schaper contended against Peterson losing 65.8% to 34.2%.
1st Legislative District
Democrats held firm leads Tuesday night in a trio of contest to represent parts of King and Snohomish counties, including Bothell, Mountlake Terrace and Kirkland.
Sen. Derek Stanford, D-Bothell, led 65% to 35% over Republican Art Coday, a doctor and entrepreneur from Woodinville. Stanford served in the House from 2011 to 2019 when he was appointed to Guy Palumbo’s position. Palumbo resigned halfway through his inaugural term.
Rep. Davina Duerr, D-Bothell, a Bothell City Councilwoman, was appointed to Stanford’s seat in House Position 1.
On Tuesday night, Duerr had the advantage as she contends for a first full term. She led fellow Bothell resident Republican Adam Bartholomew, a first-time candidate and service department manager at an automotive dealership, 69% to 31%.
Rep. Shelley Kloba, D-Kirkland, has a lead over Republican Jeb Brewer as she contends for a third two-year term in the House, 66% to 34%.
32nd Legislative District
Incumbent Democrats also were successful on election night in the district straddling Snohomish and King counties, including Edmonds, Lynnwood, Woodway and Shoreline, along with parts of Mountlake Terrace and Seattle.
In a duel of Democrats, Rep. Cindy Ryu, D-Shoreline, led Shirley Sutton, a former Lynnwood City Councilmember, 72% to 26%. A victory would give Ryu her sixth term.
Rep. Lauren Davis, D-Shoreline, was winning as she bids for a second term in the House. Non-partisan candidate Tamira Smilanich, a small business owner, earned 20% and Davis held 80%.
The next election update will be Wednesday after 5 p.m.