Gov. Locke cruises to victory over Carlson


Associated Press

SEATTLE – Gov. Gary Locke, who focuses more on consistency than charisma, won a second term today over Republican challenger John Carlson.

The Democrat said Washington voters appreciate his grasp of complex issues and his ability to make consistent improvements in education, economic development, welfare reform and other areas.

With 23 percent of precincts reporting, Locke led 58 percent to 41 percent, with Libertarian Steve LePage of West Richland trailing at 2 percent. Final results won’t be known until hundreds of thousands of absentee ballots are counted in the coming days.

“I think the strong support we’re getting all across the state is a vindication of my leadership style,” Locke said tonight. “I get results. I may not be pounding the table like Jesse Ventura, but we get results.”

Carlson, a former radio talk show host, had stepped out from behind the microphone to take on the governor because he said the state needs a stronger leader. He had no immediate comment.

Locke led in 28 of 39 counties, and dominated across the board in terms of gender, age and income, according to preliminary exit poll results from Voter News Service, a partnership of The Associated Press and television networks.

Sixty-one percent of voters who identified themselves as independents or members of minor parties said they voted for the governor. In addition, Locke was supported by one in four people who voted for Republican U.S. Sen. Slade Gorton and one in five who voted for Republican George W. Bush in the presidential race.

Locke said voters saw through Carlson’s attempt to go around the state promising bridges, highways and other goodies.

“I’ve never gone around promising things that you can’t deliver on,” the governor said. “We’ll continue to work on education, along with transportation and water and energy.”

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