Primary races for seats representing north Whatcom County in the state House appear to be settled, with Republicans making a strong showing.
Democrats marginally improved their positions in Legislative District 42 races after another 3,628 countywide ballots were counted on Wednesday, Aug. 6. But their gains weren't enough to change the perception that Republicans are favored to retain both seats in the House representing north Bellingham, the small cities and most of the unincorporated county.
Democratic candidate Satpal Sidhu maintained his lead in the four-person race for one of the district's House seats, with 40 percent of the vote.
Lynden Republican Luanne Van Werven is all but certain to face Sidhu in the November general election. She got 34 percent of the vote, and fellow Republican Bill Knutzen received 22 percent.
In Washington's top-two primary, the two candidates with the most votes advance to the general election regardless of party affiliation.
"I feel like I've done everything I needed to do," Van Werven said Tuesday. "I've never worked so hard in my life."
Libertarian Nick Kunkel, hampered by the minor-party label and a lack of fundraising, came in fourth with 4 percent of the vote.
While a Democrat was the top vote-getter in the race, the two Republicans have 56 percent of the vote - effectively giving them a 16 percentage point lead over Sidhu, the Democrat.
In the other House race in the 42nd, Vincent Buys, R-Lynden, led Democratic Party challenger Joy Monjure of Everson, 56 percent to 44 percent after Wednesday's count. The primary was a dry run for the race, which will be repeated on the Nov. 4 ballot.
Monjure was upbeat in an interview after the first results came out.
"I'm really encouraged by today's numbers," she said Tuesday. "I feel my job is to get the community to know me better, and I think those numbers will go up (in November) if I do a good job of that."
In the 40th District - south Bellingham, southwest Whatcom County, San Juan County and part of Skagit County - Rep. Kristine Lytton, D-Anacortes, led Republican Daniel Miller of Friday Harbor, 66 percent to 34 percent after Wednesday's count. Both will appear on the November ballot.
The other 40th District incumbent, Rep. Jeff Morris, D-Mount Vernon, was unopposed.