Democrats and incumbents make strong showing in primaries

Published on Wed, Aug 6, 2014 by Steve Guntli

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The early counts from the Whatcom County primaries strongly favored incumbent candidates running for reelection and Democratic newcomers. 

The early polls, released late on August 5, show Democratic incumbent Suzan DelBene goes into the general election with a strong chance of retaining her seat as the first congressional district U.S. Representative, with an estimated 40.4 percent of the vote. DelBene’s closest competitor was Republican newcomer Pedro Celis, who claimed 24.2 percent of the vote. 

In the second congressional district, which encompasses much of Bellingham as well as Island and San Juan counties, Rick Larsen held strong with 64.8 percent of the vote, decidedly leading Republican opponent B.J. Guillot (24.8 percent) and Independent challenger Mike Lapointe (10.4 percent). 

The legislative race showed similarly strong results from incumbents. In the primary for District 42 Washington State Senator, Republican incumbent Doug Ericksen received 56.9 percent of the vote over challenger Seth Fleetwood, who earned 43 percent. 

The race for district 42’s state representative position 1, which has no incumbent candidate since Jason Overstreet announced he wouldn’t run for reelection, proved to be a tight race between Democrat Satpal Sidhu and Republican Luanne VanWerven. Sidhu received 38.9 percent of the vote over VanWerven’s 34.2 percent. Republican contender Bill Knutzen was in third place with 22.8 percent, while young Libertarian newcomer Nicholas Kunkel scored only 4 percent. 

In district 42’s position 2 seat, Republican incumbent Vincent Buys held a firm lead over Democrat Joy Monjure, with 56.8 percent turning out for Buys against Monjure’s 43.1 percent.

Elsewhere in the county, prosecuting attorney Dave McEachran, running unopposed, took in 95.1 percent of the vote. The remaining 4.9 percent were write-in candidates. In the race for public utility district 1 commissioner, Bob Burr narrowly edged out Jeffrey McClure, earning 44.1 percent against McClure’s 43.3, while Matthew Goggins came third with 12.4 percent of the vote. 

Overall, the county saw a 26.4 percent voter turnout, higher than last year’s 21.7 percent turnout. At the time of publication, the Whatcom County Auditor’s office had an estimated 1,500 ballots left to count. The auditor will release its next count at 4:30 p.m. on August 6, and verify final results on Tuesday, August 19.