Grays Harbor County voters favored Republican challengers in the three legislative campaigns in the 24th District, but district-wide incumbent Democrats retained their seats with almost identical double-digit percentage victories.
Republican challengers led by slight margins of 3% to 5% among Grays Harbor voters after the first count Tuesday night, not enough to impact the district-wide race, but an example of how the voters of the county are leaning toward Republican candidates in recent elections.
The tendency in Grays Harbor County to vote Republican was evident in the 19th District, with Sen. Dean Takko, D-Longview, losing to Republican challenger Jeff Wilson; incumbent Position 1 State Rep. Jim Walsh, R-Aberdeen, defeating Democrat challenger Marianna Everson; and Republican challenger Joel McEntire leading incumbent Brian Blake, D-Aberdeen, by a few percentage points after Tuesday’s count.
Incumbent 24th District Sen. Kevin Van De Wege, D-Sequim, has earned another term with a strong election night total of 42,167 votes against 31,846 for Republican challenger Connie Beauvais of Joyce, 56.93%-42.99%. It was Beauvais who held the edge among Grays Harbor voters Tuesday night, leading Van De Wege 8,043-7,471, 51.82%-48.13%.
Van De Wege said Tuesday night he was not sure the reason why Grays Harbor voters in the 24th leaned slightly toward the Republican challengers. “I do know we have worked hard for Grays Harbor and will continue to work hard for Grays Harbor,” he said. “And we’ll continue to make it a great place to live, and I do think it’s a wonderful place to live and work.”
Van De Wege said he was proud to have won over the district in such a wide fashion with a positive campaign.
“I talked a lot about jobs and I was happy about that, and I’m ready to go to work and represent everyone in the 24th,” he said.
As for his opponent, Van De Wege said, “I have never had such a negative campaign run against me, and I think people didn’t appreciate that. They didn’t appreciate the lying my opponent did, and her integrity is broken. I think she’ll have trouble getting elected to any other office” after what he said was such a negative campaign.
State Representative Position 1
Incumbent State Rep. Mike Chapman, D-Port Angeles, has bested Republican Sue Forde of Sequim for the Position 1 seat. Tuesday night, he took more than 57% of the vote to Forde’s 43%, 42,247-31,772. Again, it was the Republican, Forde, who took the majority of Grays Harbor votes Tuesday night, 52% to just under 48%.
State Representative Position 2
Rep. Steve Tharinger, D-Sequim, will retain his District 24 Position 2 seat. Tharinger tallied 41,781 votes to challenger Republican Brian Pruiett’s 31,984, 56.6%-43.33%. As with the other two races in the district, it was the Republican who took the majority of votes in the first round in Grays Harbor County Tuesday night: Pruiett got 8,170 of votes, 52.72%, of Grays Harbor votes, to Tharinger’s 7,322, 47.24%.