State Sen. Kevin Ranker, D-Orcas Island, and conservative challenger John Swapp will advance to the general election, according to early primary election returns for the 40th District Senate race.
Jim Cozad, a Bellingham resident who challenged Ranker from the left, came in third and will not advance to the general election, early returns show. Ranker had 61.6 percent of the vote, Swapp had 31.8 percent and Cozad had 6.5 percent.
"I'm just feeling really positive," Ranker said. "Election nights are always a bit overwhelming, because when you start seeing those numbers coming you realize each one of those numbers represents somebody supporting you, and that feels really good."
Ranker has spent more than 13 times the amount Swapp has spent in his campaign, state Public Disclosure Commission records show.
"We're running a campaign with almost nothing," Swapp said. "We have virtually no money in it."
"That's not bad with no budget," added Swapp, referring to his turnout.
Cozad, who raised no money, also pointed to campaign financing for the turnout.
"The results, obviously, resembled the amount of money that interest groups spent to have these two individuals on the ballot," he said. He only campaigned for 30 days and didn't take money from anybody, he said. Cozad provided housing for a homeless man, who did his campaign website, he said.
The 40th District includes all of San Juan County and portions of Skagit and Whatcom counties. In Whatcom County, it includes the southern and eastern portions of Bellingham and land south of the city.
Ranker, a former San Juan County commissioner, was first elected to the Senate four years ago. In fall 2010, Swapp, who owns a Sedro-Woolley-based company that manufactures aerospace components, ran against but lost to incumbent state Rep. Jeff Morris, D-Mount Vernon, for the 40th district, position 2, seat. At the time, he filed as a Republican. This year, he filed as preferring the Independent-GOP party.
Cozad works for Bellingham-based nonprofit Opportunity Council on poverty and homelessness issues and is executive director of the Whatcom County Re-Entry Coalition. In 1996, he ran as a Democrat against incumbent Republican state Rep. Gene Goldsmith in the 42nd Legislative District but failed to advance to the general election. This year, he filed as having no party preference.
In the 42nd Legislative District, both incumbent Republican state representatives, Jason Overstreet and Vincent Buys, were leading over their Democratic challengers, early results showed. They each had about 53 percent of the vote, compared to 47 percent for both Natalie McClendon, Overstreet's challenger, and Matt Krogh, Buys' challenger.
Those two races each had only two candidates, so they will all advance to the general election, regardless of the primary election results.