GOP nominates Mark Harmsworth to fill Hope seat

A Mill Creek councilman vying for an open state House seat won strong backing from local Republicans last week, as elections officials prepared to finalize results from the Aug. 5 primary.

GOP precinct officers overwhelming picked Mark Harmsworth on Thursday as their top nominee to replace state Rep. Mike Hope, who resigned last month. Their two other nominees for Hope’s seat, in order of preference, are Lake Stevens Councilman Sam Low and Doug Roulstone, a retired Navy captain and former congressional candidate.

I’m honored,” Harmsworth said. “I’m excited to get started early and serve the residents in the 44th District.”

The County Council, where Democrats hold a 4-1 majority, gets to make the final choice among the GOP nominees, at a date to be determined.

Harmsworth, who works for Blueprint Consulting Services of Bellevue*, is the only one of the three nominees running in this year’s election for Hope’s seat. His opponent is Mike Wilson, a Democrat and long-time Cascade High School teacher. In primary vote tallies, Harmsworth had 51.6 percent of the 22,425 ballots cast, Wilson 47.7 percent.

The county plans to certify votes Tuesday. By Friday, only about 25 ballots remained to be counted, county elections manager Garth Fell said. Turnout for the primary only reached 25.6 percent of the more than 417,000 ballots issued.

The general election is Nov. 4.

Also in the 44th District, Democratic state Sen. Steve Hobbs, of Lake Stevens, garnered 52.1 percent of the vote, versus 47.5 percent for Republican Jim Kellett, of Snohomish. Incumbent state Rep. Hans Dunshee, a Democrat from Snohomish, had nearly 53 percent of the votes, versus 46.8 for Republican Rob Toyer, a Marysville city councilman.

In other close legislative races, incumbent Democratic state Rep. Luis Moscoso, of Mountlake Terrace, held a slight edge in the 1st District, with 44.1 percent of the 20,392 votes cast to 43.4 percent over Republican challenger Edward Barton, of Bothell.

In south county’s 21st District, Edmonds City Councilman Strom Peterson finished tops among four Democratic contenders, with 28.3 percent of the 20,701 votes cast. Republican Allen McPheeters, a former software developer from Lynnwood, won 32.3 percent to advance to the general election.

Other races on the November ballot will include special elections for one-year terms for the Snohomish County executive and sheriff.

For three congressional districts that include parts of Snohomish County, Democratic incumbents all held commanding leads.

In the 1st Congressional District, U.S. Rep. Suzan DelBene took more than half the votes in her first re-election bid. Republican Pedro Celis solidified his second place standing to face her in the general election, with 16.4 percent of the total and a 948-vote lead over fellow Republican Robert Sutherland.

In the 2nd Congressional District, U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen appeared likely to face Republican B.J. Guillot. In the 7th Congressional District, U.S. Rep. Jim McDermott took 76.9 percent of the vote. His closest challenger was Republican Craig Keller, with 9.2 percent.

Noah Haglund: 425-339-3465, nhaglund@heraldnet.com. Twitter: @NWhaglund.

* Correction, Aug. 18, 2014: This article originally used an incorrect place of employment for Mark Harmsworth.

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