Sam Low, vying for a seat in the 39th District, greets a supporter as people begin to stream in during a midterm election night watch party on Tuesday, at Papa’s Mexican Grill in Lake Stevens. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

Sam Low, vying for a seat in the 39th District, greets a supporter as people begin to stream in during a midterm election night watch party on Tuesday, at Papa’s Mexican Grill in Lake Stevens. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

Shavers leads Gilday, Low leads Sutherland in heated legislative bouts

A key 10th District race was shaken up by a resume scandal. Meanwhile, Sam Low was beating Rep. Robert Sutherland in a GOP duel.

EVERETT — Democrat Clyde Shavers was narrowly leading incumbent Republican state Rep. Greg Gilday in a tense race in the 10th Legislative District after Tuesday night’s vote count.

Shavers was beating Gilday 52.7% to 47.2% for a key House seat in a swing district that includes Island County and parts of Snohomish and Skagit counties.

The matchup came into the spotlight last week when Shavers’ father penned a letter stating his son exaggerated his military record. It will likely be days before the final result is known.

Meanwhile, in a battle of two well-known Republicans, Snohomish County Council Member Sam Low was leading incumbent state Rep. Robert Sutherland in Tuesday’s results.

Low was beating Sutherland 55.1% to 41.4% in an intraparty clash of contrasting political styles and approach in the 39th Legislative District.

Clyde Shavers, left, and Greg Gilday.

Clyde Shavers, left, and Greg Gilday.

10th Legislative District

Gilday and Shavers have been battling in a heated showdown for the 10th District seat for months.

Gilday, 44, is an attorney and real estate agent from Camano Island. His challenger, Shavers, 32, is a Navy veteran and law school graduate from Oak Harbor.

Independent spending groups have poured money into the race, with Democratic supporters slamming one-term incumbent Gilday for his record on abortion rights and gun control. Republicans, meanwhile, have repeatedly called out Shavers’ newcomer status in the district and ties to a law firm that represents top Democrats.

The race intensified last week after Shavers’ father, Brett Shavers, wrote a letter that he provided Gilday’s campaign stating his son was never a submarine officer as he had claimed. Shavers called his father’s letter politically motivated, noting Brett Shavers, a retired Marine and data security expert, traveled to Washington D.C. on Jan. 6, 2021. The father told The Daily Herald he marched to the Capitol but did not participate in the attempted insurrection.

The younger Shavers, a first-time candidate, completed some submarine training, though he admitted he never served on a sub. He went on to serve as a public affairs officer in the Middle East and Southeast Asia. Shavers has also come under fire for listing himself as an attorney on a financial disclosure form, though he has yet to pass the bar exam.

In the days leading up to the election, Republican groups capitalized on the accusations in the letter in mailers and on a website slamming Shavers.

Democrats, meanwhile, criticized Gilday for a dispute with the Stanwood City Council over a right-of-way agreement, pointing to Gilday demanding an additional $543,000 from the city in an appraisal for property he owns.

Shavers raised $495,000 in campaign contributions and Gilday $350,000 with nearly all the money spent, according to filings with Public Disclosure Commission.

In the second race in the 10th District, two-term incumbent Democrat Rep. Dave Paul was ahead of Republican Karen Lesetmoe by a margin of 54.3% to 45.6%. Paul, the director of community relations at Skagit Valley College, has been a legislator since 2019. Lesetmoe, a Navy veteran and real estate agent, is seeking her first political office.

Sam Low, left, and Robert Sutherland.

Sam Low, left, and Robert Sutherland.

39th Legislative District

The Sutherland-Low duel was one of the year’s most intriguing political matchups.

Sutherland, 62, of Granite Falls, is a two-term incumbent. Low, 52, of Lake Stevens, has served on the County Council since 2016, winning a second full term in 2021.

Sutherland, a conservative firebrand, won past elections easily. But redistricting removed communities along U.S. 2 where he dominated and brought in the city of Lake Stevens, where Low is popular.

The two men share similar views on issues. But their styles differ immensely. Sutherland has reveled in attention stirred by his verbal jabs at Democrats, and sometimes Republicans. His embrace of former President Donald Trump’s conspiracy theories also alienated him from some in his party. Low positions himself as a moderate who seeks compromise in the legislating process. He boasts of befriending Democrats.

Low faced criticism for his intention to keep serving on the County Council if elected, arguing there’s a synergy to the work, and neither is full-time.

Low garnered backing of mayors and council members from communities in the district. He also snagged endorsements from several statewide business and labor groups. Some of those groups contributed to independent political committees, which in recent days sent mailers to Democrat and independent voters urging them to reject Sutherland.

The challenger also raised nearly three times as much money as the incumbent. Low reported $147,000 in contributions as of Monday compared to Sutherland’s total of just under $50,000. Both men had spent nearly all of their campaign cash, according to filings with the PDC.

Rep. Carolyn Eslick of the 39th District hugs a couple supporters during a midterm election night watch party on Tuesday, at Papa’s Mexican Grill in Lake Stevens. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

Rep. Carolyn Eslick of the 39th District hugs a couple supporters during a midterm election night watch party on Tuesday, at Papa’s Mexican Grill in Lake Stevens. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

In the contest for the other House seat, state Rep. Carolyn Eslick,R-Sultan, was ahead of Democratic challenger Jessica Wadhams of Lake Stevens by a margin of 57.1% to 42.7%.

Eslick, a former mayor of Sultan, has served in the Legislature since 2017. Wadhams, a community activist, was making her first bid for state office. She ran unsuccessfully for City Council in 2021.

Jerry Cornfield: 360-352-8623;; Twitter: @dospueblos.

Jacqueline Allison: 425-339-3434; Twitter: @jacq_allison.

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