Republican 1st District senate candidate sees path to victory

By Evan Smith

Republican 1st Legislative District state senate candidate Mindie Wirth says that she can win in November even though the two Democrats on the Aug. 2 primary-election ballots got about 60 percent of the primary votes.

Wirth led the primary with 40 percent of votes to Democratic general-election opponent Guy Palumbo’s 31 percent and Democratic State Rep. Luis Moscoso’s 29 percent.

Palumbo and Wirth now will run on the Nov. 8 general-election ballot for the position that State Sen. Rosemary McAuliffe is vacating after six four-year terms. Democrat Shelley Kloba and Republican Jim Langston will run for the position in the State House of Representatives that Moscoso is giving up after three two-year terms. Incumbent Democratic State Rep. Derek Stanford will meet Republican challenger Neil Thannisch for the other 1st District house position.

Wirth said Sunday that the primary wasn’t indicative of November voting because it brought out more Democratic voters than Republican voters.

“The 1st Legislative District saw a heavy Democrat turnout for the primary because the local races had multiple D’s running, whereas the open senate and house races only had one Republican running in each,” she said. “There was a decent amount of Democrat outreach and GOTV leading up to the primary, which became particularly divisive in the senate race the week before the primary.”

Wirth said she believes that people who supported Moscoso in the primary won’t necessarily vote for Palumbo in the general election.

“The Democrat vote for Senate was basically split, and I don’t know that my opponent can be assured he will inherit the votes that went to his opponent in the primary by virtue of his current party affiliation alone,” she said. “I’ve talked to a number of voters since the primary that had supported Luis but do not plan on voting for my opponent in the general election. In fact, neither Luis Moscoso nor Rosemary McAuliffe will be endorsing my opponent.”

Moscoso said Wednesday that he couldn’t endorse Palumbo because, he said, Palumbo isn’t a true Democrat, noting that Palumbo had declared as an independent candidate four years ago before becoming what Moscoso called a “Democrat of Convenience.”

Wirth said that voters would see how she and Palumbo stand on important issues.

“There continues to remain a sharp contrast between myself and my opponent on taxes, particularly when it comes to exploring new revenue (income tax) and the levy swap,” Wirth said. “This is what is resonating with Republicans, independents and Democrats that I talk to.”

Palumbo had said a week earlier that votes in the primary indicate that most voters in the district share values with the two Democrats. Moscoso said it was presumptuous of Palumbo to say that the two Democrats share similar views.

For the general election campaign, Wirth said, “I will continue to focus on voter outreach and meeting people at the door. The personal interactions have been such a critical component to my strategy that I was out again the day after the primary knocking on doors, meeting people and sharing my message.”

The 1st Legislative District includes most of Mountlake Terrace, all of Brier and Bothell, north Kirkland, unincorporated areas of King County between Bothell and Kirkland, and unincorporated areas of Snohomish County north and east of Bothell including the Maltby area.

Evan Smith can be reached at

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