In one of Whatcom County’s key primary election races, Pinky Vargas widened her lead against fellow Democrat Tim Ballew II for the right to challenge incumbent state Sen. Doug Ericksen for his 42nd District Senate seat this fall.
Vargas is leading Ballew by 29 percent to 25 percent after an updated ballot count was released at 10:54 a.m. Thursday by the Washington Secretary of State.
Ericksen, a Republican, led the three-way race with 46 percent of the vote in the traditionally conservative district that covers northern Whatcom County.
Under Washington state’s top-two primary system, Ericksen and Vargas will advance to the Nov. 6 general election if their primary leads hold.
Some 9,000 ballots remain to be counted in Whatcom County and a new total is due at 4:30 p.m. today
In the 40th District state House, position 1 race, Democrat Debra Lekanoff remains in the lead. Meanwhile, Republican Michael Petrish stayed in second place but Democrats Rud Browne and Alex Ramel are fewer than 100 votes away in the heavily Democratic district that covers southern Whatcom, and part of Skagit and San Juan counties.
In the race to fill a one-year term on the Whatcom County Council, Carol Frazey and Mike Peetoom held their leads of 42 percent to 24 percent respectively.
Although the race is non-partisan, Frazey was backed by Whatcom Democrats and Peetoom had the support of the county’s Republican Party.
Both Frazey and Peetoom are business owners and are seeking an at-large council position.
A total of 59,560 ballots had arrived by 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, according to the Whatcom County Auditor’s Office, which conducts local elections.
Some 139,750 Whatcom County residents were registered to vote in the primary, for a voter turnout of 36.27 percent.
Under state law, all partisan races were on Tuesday’s primary ballot, regardless of the number of candidates for each post.
Looking toward November, the combined Democratic primary votes of Ballew and Vargas exceed Ericksen’s total.
But both Vargas and Ericksen cautioned against reading too much into those numbers, especially for a primary.
Even so, Vargas, a member of the Bellingham City Council, said Democrats are energized this election season.
“We worked really, really, hard, and it’s not over yet,” Vargas said.
Ballew, a member of the Whatcom County Council, praised Vargas in an email sent Tuesday night.
“We both committed early on to run positive campaigns as Democrats and support whichever one of us makes it through to the general (election),” Ballew said. “Her enthusiasm and energy for change is an inspiration.”
Ericksen said Wednesday that he spent little money on the primary while both Ballew and Vargas campaigned heavily.
“There was never any doubt about moving forward,” said Ericksen, who was elected to the state Senate in 2010 after representing the 42nd District in the state House for 12 years. .
On his Facebook page, Ericksen offered to debate his eventual opponent on issues facing the voters.
In other races:
▪ Democratic newcomer Sharon Shewmake was still leading incumbent Republican Rep. Vincent Buys with a total of 52 percent to 48 percent in the 42nd District’s position two House seat.
▪ Democratic challenger Justin Boneau was ahead of incumbent Republican Rep. Luanne Van Werven with a count of 51 percent to 44 percent. Republican Dean Berkeley had 5 percent in the three-way race and will not advance to the general election for the in the 42nd District’s position one House seat.
▪ Eric Richey was leading James Erb, 58 percent to 42 percent, in the race for Whatcom County Prosecutor.
Richey is Whatcom County’s chief criminal deputy prosecuting attorney and Erb is Bellingham’s senior assistant city attorney. Both were running as Democrats, and they’ll face each other on the November ballot.
▪ In the 1st District U.S. House race, Democratic incumbent Rep. Suzan DelBene leads with 60 percent of the vote in the district that stretches from Whatcom County south to King County. Republican challengers Jeffrey Beeler and Scott Stafne followed with 25 percent and 11 percent.
▪ In the 2nd District U.S. House race, Democratic incumbent Rep Rick Larsen leads with 66 percent, followed by Democrat Collin Richard Carlson with 8 percent and Independent Party candidate R. Gary Franco, also with 8 percent.
▪ In the race for U.S. Senate, incumbent Sen. Maria Cantwell, a Democrat, leads all 28 challengers with 55 percent. Her closest opponent and likely November challenger is Republican Susan Hutchison, who had 24. percent of the vote.
▪ One judicial race was on Tuesday’s primary ballot, for the Court of Appeals Division 1, District 3, Judge Position 1. Tom SeGuine was leading with 28 percent, Cecily Hazelrigg-Hernandez was second with 24 percent, followed by Lisa Keeler with 23 percent.
Unofficial results at 10:54 am Thursday, Aug. 9
Whatcom County Prosecuting Attorney
|James Erb (D)||18,185||42%|
|Eric Richey (D)||25,163||58%|
County Council At-Large At-Large Position B
State Representative, 40th District, Position 1
|Rud Browne (D)||5,782||20%|
|Debra Lekanoff (D)||8,496||29%|
|Daniel Miller (R)||1,845||6%|
|Tom Pasma (D)||1,832||6%|
|Michael Petrish (R)||5,800||20%|
|Alex Ramel (D)||5,728||19%|
State Representative, 40th District, Position 2
|Jeff Morris (D)*||21,093||100%|
Legislative District 42 - State Senator
|Doug Ericksen (R)||15,493||46%|
|Tim Ballew II (D)||8,480||25%|
|Pinky Vargas (D)||9,717||29%|
State Representative, 42nd District, Position 1
|Dean Berkeley (R)||1,689||5%|
|Justin Boneau (D)||17,002||51%|
|Luanne Van Werven (R)*||14,888||44%|
State Representative, 42nd District, Position 2
|Vincent Buys (R)*||16,014||48%|
|Sharon Shewmake (D)||17,533||52%|
U.S. Representative, 1st District
|Jeffrey Beeler (R)||30,917||25%|
|Suzan DelBene (D)*||72,577||60%|
|Scott Stafne (R)||13,869||11%|
U.S. Representative, 2nd District
|Stonewall Jackson Bird (Stoney) (G)||4,480||4%|
|Collin Richard Carlson (D)||8,180||8%|
|Gary Franco (I)||8,161||8%|
|Rick Larsen (D)*||72,104||66%|
|Brian Luke (L)||7,822||7%|
|Thor Amundson (I)||6,682||1%|
|Dave Bryant (R)||23,936||2%|
|Jon Butler (I)||1,442||0%|
|Maria Cantwell (D)*||649,397||55%|
|Art Coday (R)||19,329||2%|
|James Robert "Jimmie" Deal (G)||2,577||0%|
|Jennifer Gigi Ferguson (I)||14,979||1%|
|Roque "Rocky" De La Fuente (R)||4,022||0%|
|Joey Gibson (R)||27,321||2%|
|Matt Hawkins (R)||9,123||1%|
|Matthew D. Heines (R)||5,689||0%|
|Susan Hutchison (R)||284,206||24%|
|Charlie R Jackson (I)||1,721||0%|
|George H. Kalberer (D)||1,807||0%|
|Mike Luke (L)||8,146||1%|
|John Orlinski (R)||4,804||0%|
|Tim Owen (R)||17,034||1%|
|Don L. Rivers (D)||8,302||1%|
|Mohammad Said (D)||5,803||0%|
|RC Smith (R)||1,662||0%|
|Glen R Stockwell (R)||8,799||1%|
|Dave Strider (I)||4,705||0%|
|Keith Swank (R)||27,991||2%|
|Clint R. Tannehill (D)||23,282||2%|
Court of Appeals, Division 1, District 3 - Judge Position 1
Sources: Washington Secretary of State, Whatcom County Auditor's Office