Lucas’ lead grows in judicial race

EVERETT — Snohomish County Superior Court Judge Eric Lucas increased his lead by a few hundred votes Wednesday in the bid to keep his seat on the bench.

The ballots counted Wednesday showed Lucas leading former Judge David Hulbert by nearly 3,000 votes. Lucas’ lead grew by about 600 votes from election night.

About 93,000 ballots, or about 27.5 percent of the ballots issued, were tallied by Wednesday. Snohomish County election officials estimated there are about 45,000 more ballots to count.

That total could increase with today’s mail, elections manager Garth Fell said. Another round of results is expected today.

Hulbert, who lost his seat to Lucas in 2004, said Wednesday’s tally was too close for him to throw in the towel.

“There’s still a big chunk of votes to be counted,” he said. “Clearly we’ll need a big number to turn around, but we’ll wait and see what happens.”

Snohomish County deputy prosecutor George Appel increased his lead over Everett attorney Joe Wilson in the second contested county judicial race.

Appel led Wilson by about 2,700 votes Wednesday. Both edged out former state legislator Jim Johanson, who conceded the race Tuesday night. Appel and Wilson are expected face off in the general election in November.

Snohomish County election officials initially projected a 46 percent voter turnout. They now estimate the turnout likely will end up being about 40 percent, Fell said.

The initial returns were a lot slower than expected. Those numbers rebounded after Tuesday’s count, indicating voters were waiting to mail in their ballots or were using the various drop-off sites around the county.

Voter turnout statewide sat at 24 percent Tuesday night, far below the 46 percent level predicted by Secretary of State Sam Reed.

That won’t be the final mark.

David Ammons, communications director for Reed, said as of Wednesday morning counties reported having at least 260,000 ballots left to count. Adding those to the 824,000 tallied Tuesday will push the turnout to slightly above 32 percent.

The final rate of participation may still wind up near the state’s historic norm of 40 percent because some counties are underestimating the number of uncounted ballots, Ammons said.

Predicting turnout is an imprecise science. State and county election officials thought voter excitement for the presidential race would spill over into the primary in a greater fashion than it did.

Interest may have been dulled because of a lack of exciting local and statewide races whose outcomes hinged on the primary, Ammons surmised.

Reporter Jerry Cornfield contributed to this report.

Reporter Diana Hefley: 425-339-3463 or hefley@heraldnet.com.

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