EVERETT — Michele and Keith Lampers consider themselves to be independents — a little on the conservative side.
The Mountlake Terrace couple votes for whoever they believe is the best fit to hold an elected office, Michele Lampers said.
“We don’t care if they’re a Republican or Democrat,” she said.
In 2020, they backed Republican challenger Loren Culp for governor and Democrat Joe Biden for president.
They’re not alone in Snohomish County, where a significant number swing of voters backed both Biden, the former vice president who is projected win in county vote by 21 percent, and Culp, a conservative Eastern Washington former police chief who is the apparent loser by a notably tighter margin of 13 percent.
Precinct-level data show the vice president made significant gains in areas that supported Donald Trump in 2016.
Teri Oosterwyk, a small business owner in Monroe, cast a vote for Culp as well as Trump’s opponent.
“Trump isn’t a president for the American people,” she said. “As a result of his presidency, the world has lost a lot of respect for the United States. I’m hoping our new president will gain some of that back. If I’ve gotta pay 7% more on my corporate income taxes, it’s worth it.”
Oosterwyk called herself a left-leaning moderate, though she has never voted for a Democratic governor.
“You have to have both parties involved in everything,” she said.
Likewise, the Lampers’ presidential votes were largely against Trump’s character.
”Some of his views, or the things he’s done, are good, but he’s just not a leader,” Michele Lampers said. “And the way he acts and composes himself, I just can’t handle that.”
“As far as governor goes, my husband and I are not for Governor (Jay) Inslee at all,” she said.
At the time of the latest ballot tally late Friday, Biden led Trump in the countywide vote 59% to 38%, and Inslee led Culp 56% to 43%.
Statewide, the two Democrats led by similar margins.
If Biden’s local lead holds, it will be the largest vote share a presidential candidate has had in Snohomish County since at least the 1980s.
In 2008, Barack Obama received 58.13% of the vote.
Of the county’s 784 precincts, Biden leads in 599. Precincts across Snohomish County range from one voter to 1,200.
Biden and Culp led in 94 of the same precincts, according to an analysis by the The Daily Herald. The only precinct in Snohomish County where voters preferred both incumbents — Trump and Inslee — was Hat Island, where 72 of 80 registered voters turned in ballots.
The results show Biden flipping dozens of previously pro-Trump precincts in Marysville, Lake Stevens, Monroe, Arlington, Sultan, Stanwood and unincorporated Snohomish County.
“More than anything, it is people looking for a return of decorum in politics,” said Hillary Moralez, chair of the Snohomish County Democrats. “I know a lot of Republicans have been turned off by the actions and behaviors of the current president and I think what we really saw is people trying to find that middle ground.”
By city, Biden leads in Everett, Lynnwood, Marysville, Edmonds, Snohomish, Lake Stevens, Monroe, Mill Creek, Mukilteo, Bothell, Mukilteo, Tulalip, Mountlake Terrace, Brier, Woodway and Index.
Trump received more votes in Arlington, Darrington, Gold Bar, Granite Falls, Stanwood and Sultan.
Doug Roulstone, vice chair of the Snohomish County Republican Party, said it’s too early to comment on the results.
One factor in Biden’s gains could be a lack of third-party votes.
In 2016, Hillary Clinton won 52% of the vote to Trump’s 36% here. The other 12% of ballots cast for president went to third-party, or write-in, candidates. This year, it’s only 3.53%.
“I am hoping that a lot of the people have found that the Republican Party, which keeps going more and more right, are going to find that the Democratic party’s tent is always big enough that we can take care of all of our citizens, not just the ones that vote for us,” Moralez said.
In the race for governor, Inslee won 505 precincts. Culp took the remaining 277.
In Mountlake Terrace, the Lampers both work in construction, one in commercial projects and the other in housing. They were frustrated with Inslee’s early response to the pandemic.
“Not knowing who was going to work and who wasn’t was very frustrating,” Michele Lampers said. “Let’s have the marijuana stores open and the liquor stores open, yet my husband couldn’t work for a month. If it doesn’t fit his personal agenda, it doesn’t happen.”
Even so, they support the mask mandate and phased reopening, she said.
In 2016, they voted for Bill Bryant for governor, who won more than 100 of the same precincts as Hillary Clinton.
So did Oosterwyk.
“I voted for Hillary because I loved Bill,” Oosterwyk said. “I’ve always thought Mr. Trump was a loose cannon and he’s not a good candidate.”
The Lampers aren’t huge Biden supporters, though, Michele said. In the March primary in Washington, she backed Kamala Harris’ bid for the White House.
“I’d like to see her become our first female vice president, then maybe president,” she said.
Herald reporter Ian Davis-Leonard contributed to this story.