Gardner, Brandland race too close to call

Published on Thu, Nov 7, 2002 by Christian Knight

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Gardner, Brandland race too close to call

By Christian Knight

Three incumbents held their seats after the polls closed Tuesday night but an estimated 15,000 absentee ballots that won’t be counted until November. 8 is leaving the fate of state senator Georgia Gardner’s seat uncertain.

“I’m thinking we may not know the results of this election until November 20,” said Whatcom County Auditor Shirley Forslof. “At this point it’s too early to tell.”

As of Wednesday morning, Whatcom County sheriff Dale Brandland-R clung to a 338-vote lead over the Blaine Democrat.

In the race for the 2nd congressional district seat, U.S. representative Rick Larsen appears to have successfully defended his congressional seat against GOP challenger Norma Smith, winning 50 percent of the vote.
“We’re thrilled with the results,” said Charla Neuman, Larsen press secretary. “All of these votes are votes of confidence for the job Rick has done in the last two years.”

State representative Kelli Linville, D-Bellingham earned a fifth term to the state legislature Tuesday night, defeating her 1994 legislative opponent Ferndale Republican Gene Goldsmith 56 percent to 43.

“Gene was talking about specific issues to a very limited audience,” said Linville. “I was talking about water quality, the environment – issues that really reflect the kind of work that I do in the district. I do my best to represent the whole district. It’s a pleasure to know the voters saw that.”
Representative Doug Ericksen, R-Ferndale, is heading back to Olympia for another term after defeating his Democratic challenger Jim Boyle with 57 percent of the vote.

Washington voters approved both initiatives and rejected both referendums as well Tuesday, hinting at dissatisfaction with state bureaucracy.

The nine-cent gasoline tax-increase flopped Tuesday night when Referendum 51 failed. The approval of Tim Eyman’s Initiative 776 will reduce the cost of registering cars and light trucks to $30 in King, Snohomish, Pierce and Douglas counties. Initiative 790, the initiative that gives police officers and fire fighters more control over their own pensions won easily with a six percent margin.

An assertive rejection of Referendum 53 will fend off an unemployment insurance overhaul that would have increased taxes to small businesses while decreasing costs for Boeing and other larger businesses.

The constitutional amendment, Resolution 4220, which gives fire districts permission to ask local voters for extended special operating and construction levies passed, 68 percent to 32.

Whatcom County strayed significantly from the state average on the matter of just one measure: Initiative 790. While the state’s 53 to 47 percent approval of the initiative seems somewhat unenthusiastic, Whatcom County vehemently approved the initiative, winning 60 percent of the votes.

Forty percent (91,656) of Whatcom County voters ventured to the county’s 119 precincts Tuesday to exercise their right to vote, which is slightly higher than the state average of 35 percent.


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