Reaction to Cantwell’s win follows party lines


Herald Writer

Reaction was mixed Friday among Snohomish County political leaders over the U.S. Senate victory of dotcom millionaire Democrat Maria Cantwell of Mountlake Terrace.

Snohomish County Executive Bob Drewel said he is looking forward to working with Cantwell, who defeated three-term incumbent Sen. Slade Gorton in final vote tallies that were confirmed Friday.

"Her experience in the private sector, knowing that private business has to work with the government and vice versa, will make a distinct and important difference," said fellow Democrat Drewel, comparing Cantwell to Gorton.

"Certainly, I have worked closely with Senator Gorton, and I wish him the best," Drewel said.

Cantwell served as a co-chair of Drewel’s first campaign for county executive more than 10 years ago.

But Snohomish County Republican Chairman Jerry Miller said the loss of Gorton will have a great impact on the county.

"He will be missed," Miller said. "He did a lot for this county and for the state."

Miller credits Gorton for making sure Everett secured its Navy base.

"When the Navy base was all but gone, he resurrected it," Miller said. "When bases all over the country were closing, he kept ours coming here. And now we are home to one of the largest bases on the West Coast, to his credit.

"And the impact that he has had for Washington (state) in the U.S. Senate is legendary."

State Sen. Val Stevens, R-Arlington, said she was dismayed at the outcome of the election.

"It’s a great loss for the state of Washington," Stevens said of Gorton’s defeat. "And I would love to see him get an appointment to a post (possibly in the Bush administration) that will further his service to the nation."

But Barbara Cothern, chairwoman of the Snohomish County Council, said she is upbeat about the state’s new senator.

"For the county, it’s a very positive thing," she said. "I haven’t been involved in any issues with Gorton, but I know Maria well and she knows our county’s issues."

Cothern said she got to know Cantwell during political campaigns, and they were mutually supportive of one another.

"I think she’ll be a very good senator," Cothern said.

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