BOTHELL — Snohomish County fire commissioner Guy Palumbo has beaten three-term Democratic state Rep. Luis Moscoso to advance to the general election in the race for a seat in the state Senate.
Moscoso, a Bothell resident, told supporters Friday that success would elude him in the hard-fought contest to succeed retiring Sen. Rosemary McAuliffe, D-Bothell.
“I am disappointed to announce that I will not be advancing to the General Election to represent the 1st District in the State Senate,” begins a two-paragraph statement he also posted on Facebook on Saturday. “I am honored by the support shown to me. I hope our positive and issue-focused campaign made you proud.”
In the statement, Moscoso did not endorse Palumbo, a Democrat, or Republican candidate Mindie Wirth who is winning the primary.
“Our community deserves strong leadership and I’m looking forward to hearing how our State Senate candidates propose ways to make our district safer, healthier, faster and with better public schools,” Moscoso wrote in the statement.
Palumbo said Monday morning that he had not spoken with Moscoso but did read the Facebook post.
“I appreciate Luis’ service to our district and the state over the last six years,” he said. “We are thrilled to be moving on. I think our message resonated about getting results out of Olympia, especially in transportation and education funding for McCleary. I look forward to discussing those issues in the general election.”
Wirth, 36, a senior program manager at Microsoft Corp., said Monday she has been focused on her campaign and not that of others.
“My biggest opponent is time and getting voters to know me,” said Wirth, who is making her first bid for office.
Wirth, Palumbo and Moscoso were competing in the Aug. 2 primary for the job McAuliffe has held since 1993. At stake is a four-year term representing a district which includes most of Mountlake Terrace, all of Brier and Bothell and north Kirkland. It also encompasses unincorporated areas of Snohomish County north and east of Bothell, including the Maltby area.
With Wirth widely expected to advance because she was the only Republican running, the real fight was between the two Democratic candidates.
Moscoso, 66, who received McAuliffe’s strong endorsement, had a 30-year career in public service and as a community activist before he won election to the state House in 2010. Voters re-elected him twice.
He is a vice-chairman of the House Transportation Committee and former transit union leader who’s been a steady voice for civil rights and public safety legislation. He campaigned on his legislative record and 30 years of public service and community activism.
Palumbo, 42, of Maltby, is an elected fire commissioner and serves on the county planning commission. He challenged McAuliffe in 2012 and finished third in the primary. He owns Roscoe’s Ranch dog boarding business.
Palumbo, in this race, raised $93,512 to Moscoso’s $60,639, according to reports filed with the state Public Disclosure Commission.
In the campaign’s final days, Moscoso dealt with questions about a domestic violence protection order obtained against him in 1987 by his second wife. The couple was in the midst of a divorce, and a Snohomish County Superior Court judge issued the order following a tense encounter between the two.
Moscoso also acknowledged and accepted responsibility for incorrect information about his educational background that appeared in voter pamphlets in his previous elections.
Meanwhile, as the campaign wound down, Palumbo benefited from the efforts of an independent political committee, Voters for Washington Children. The group spent $22,639 on mailers to voters endorsing Palumbo and another $15,000 for online ads against Moscoso referencing the domestic violence protection order and his misstated academic record.
Three groups known for their support of charter schools — Stand for Children, Washington Charters and Democrats for Education Reform — provided the money for that political action committee.
Palumbo supports charter schools while Moscoso is endorsed by the state teacher’s union, the leading opponent of the publicly financed, privately run schools.
On election night, Wirth garnered the most votes and Moscoso led Palumbo by 35 votes for the second spot. But Palumbo moved in front in the second day of ballot-counting and increased his lead since.
As of Monday morning, Wirth had garnered 40.3 percent followed by Palumbo at 31.1 percent and Moscoso at 28.6 percent.
Though Wirth collected the most votes in the primary, the leader of the Senate Democratic Caucus said Monday she expects her party will retain control of the seat.
“I know Guy Palumbo will run a strong campaign, and I am confident we will keep that seat,” said Senate Minority Leader Sharon Nelson, D-Maury Island.