Loomis leads in 44th District race

  • By Alexis Bacharach Enterprise editor
  • Wednesday, November 5, 2008 1:31pm

The race for House position 2 in the 44th Legislative District was a close one from the start. Rep. Liz Loomis, D-Snohomish, and Republican candidate Mike Hope, also from Snohomish, battled neck and neck for months attacking each others’ positions on education, government spending, transportation, reproductive rights, ethics and more.

Loomis was holding on by a seven point lead at 8:30 p.m. on election night but felt it was premature to celebrate, wanting to wait until the election results are certified.

“It was a close race; it still is a close race,” Loomis said. “I want to do this thing right and wait until all the votes are counted and certified. But I’ll tell you, I’m glad the election is over.”

Loomis was appointed by county Democrats to fill the remaining term of former Rep. John Lovick, who was elected Snohomish County Sheriff in 2007.

Among the issues Loomis campaigned on: tax cuts for small businesses and senior citizens, education reform and elimination of the Washington Assessment of Student Learning (WASL) and increased performance audits to make government more accountable.

“We need to fix the economy first and foremost,” Loomis said. “We need to make sure we don’t raise taxes or do anything in these tough financial times that put undue burden on anybody.”

Hope, a former detective with the Seattle Police Department, is no stranger to politics, having run for office in 2004 against Rep. Hans Dunshee. He got in the ring this year to hold lawmakers’ accountable for spending the state into a projected $3.2 billion deficit.

“Proven effective programs — mental health care and drug courts — are in jeopardy now because the state has wasted money on legislative earmarks and administration,” Hope said in an interview last month. “We need a change in leadership in Olympia.”

Loomis said of her apparent victory and that of fellow 44th district Democrat Rep. Hans Dunshee: “People obviously still have confidence in their legislators, and it’s up to us not to lose that confidence.”

“Some Democrat Legislators called me this morning to wish me luck, but they said given the current economy, ‘if you lose, you might actually be happy,” Loomis said. “We face huge challenges, and I look forward to going back to Olympia and working through them with my fellow legislators.”

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