Initial returns from last night’s primary voting for the 2nd Congressional District seat reflect that incumbent Democrat, Rick Larsen and Tea Party/Republican candidate (and sitting Snohomish County Councilman), John Koster will continue on to the general election in November. While the result is not a great surprise to many, there are still some interesting questions left to be answered.
In the district which runs from northern King County to the Canadian border and includes sections of 6 different counties, Larsen’s count at the end of the night was 48,762 (42.85%) with Koster receiving 46,560 (40.91%) according the WA Secretary of State’s website. However, in Snohomish County (the district’s largest), Koster actually finished ahead by a small margin. Added to the mix were a 2nd Republican challenger (John Carmack) and two Progressive Democrats (Diana McGinnes and Larry Kalb).
- Rick Larsen (D) – 48,762 – 42.85%
- John Koster (R) – 46,560 – 40.91%
- Diana McGinnes (D) – 7,222 – 6.35%
- John Carmack (R) – 6,487 – 5.70%
- Larry Kalb (D) – 4,773 – 4.19%
- John Koster (R) – 17,926 – 43.16%
- Rick Larsen (D) – 17,245 – 41.52%
- Diana McGinnes (D) – 3,098 – 7.46%
- John Carmack (R) – 2,373 – 5.71%
- Larry Kalb (D) – 891 – 2.15%
Short of declaring a victory, Larsen’s campaign issued the following statement shortly after last night’s tally was announced.
“Larsen in Strong Position Heading into General Election
Everett , WA -Rick Larsen released the following statement in response to the initial Primary Election results:
“Thank you to all of my supporters and volunteers who donated their time and energy to help with my ongoing campaign. The hard work paid off. Tonight’s results show that we are in a strong position to win the general election in November.
“Second District voters have a choice this fall: join me in moving our country forward, putting our local economy back on track, and holding Wall Street accountable or join my opponent who wants to return to the failed policies that led to the recession.
“I am focused on the issues that matter to families in the Pacific Northwest. I want to build an environment where businesses can create jobs and thrive, land the Air Force tanker here at home for the best aerospace workers in the world, and close the donut hole to make prescription drugs more affordable for seniors.”
Larsen’s campaign is well positioned heading into the General Election. His campaign has knocked on 7,958 doors across the district and called 17,426 households through August 17th . And according to July 28, 2010 Federal Election Commission report Larsen has $864,344.02 cash on hand to Koster’s $127,069.44.”
In a statement to the Everett Herald in which he described the race as a “dead heat” Koster (who has been endorsed by Tea Party favorite and former half/term Alaska governor, Sarah Palin) offered the following:
“”Mr. Larsen is only a few thousand votes ahead right now. We’re in a race we think we can win in November and the numbers show it,” Koster said. “People are ready for someone who listens to them.”
Of particular interest to me is the question of where the Progressives in the district go from here. Larsen was quick to post to his Facebook page last night: “Total Democratic vote in the district is 53.25%. Again, traditional campaign work always wins. Great job, Democrats.”
Progressives made up 11% of the vote total from last night; a significant number moving toward the general election. Larsen has angered many Progressives over the years with his continuing votes for war funding and increasing DoD budgets as well as his lack of support for a single payer universal healthcare system. He is well known in the Progressive community for beginning meetings by proudly proclaiming that he is “no Jim McDermott or Jay Inslee“; two Progressive icons in the state. To be sure, there will be a great deal of pressure on the Progressive community to vote for Rick Larsen or be held accountable for a Republican (Tea Party) victory in November. The question is, how much longer will this group continue to vote against their base principles in the name of “party unity”? I am awaiting comment from Diana McGinnes and Larry Kalb to get a sense of where they will stand and what they intend to tell their supporters moving in to the general election.