Incumbent Brian Blake, a Democrat, leads Republican challenger Joel McEntire with 54.06 percent of the districtwide vote in the District 19 Pos. 2 State Representative race after the first round of ballots were tabulated Tuesday evening.
Across the district, Blake holds a 21,110-17,937 edge over McEntire. Blake leads in Grays Harbor County with 58.02 percent of the vote, 5,663-4,098; in Pacific County with 56.38 percent, 4,096-3,169; and in Cowlitz County with 54.62 percent, 7,799. McEntire leads in his home county, Wahkiakum, with 50.66 percent, 1,075-1,047; and leads in Lewis County with 66.2 percent, 1,796-917.
Blake, of Aberdeen, was first elected to the position in 2002 and this year ran on a platform calling for the protection for the region’s shellfish producers, investment in infrastructure like port dredging, increasing hatchery output and improving public access to recreation areas.
McEntire, a school teacher from Cathlamet, ran on a platform to reign in bureaucracy at the state level, to get the state to fund school construction, and to serve as a voice for the district not entrenched in the politics of Seattle and Olympia.
Blake had to face questions regarding campaign expenditures to a print company in North Vancouver totaling $60,000 late in the campaign, leading his challenger to accuse him of cronyism.