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Strow, Haugen lead narrowly

With approximately 15,000 ballots left to count district-wide, the race for State representative between Coupeville Mayor Nancy Conard and Republican Chris Strow remains too close to call.

“We are still waiting for the returns to come in,” Conard’s Campaign Manager Margaret Rojas said. “We are cautiously optimistic.”

Conard’s 20,284 votes trails Strow’s 21,345, a turnaround from the Tuesday evening results. Conard, who left for a European vacation shortly after the election, was unavailable for comment.

“We think the election’s over, so we’ll see,” Strow said. “I’d prefer to be in the position I’m in.”

Strow said he too is leaving for a short vacation before jumping in to orienting himself in his new position. He said his first bill is one he has been working on with gubernatorial candidate Dino Rossi. It would create an office of regulatory reform, which would monitor the legislature’s effects on businesses.

Oak Harbor resident and incumbent Barbara Bailey has settled in with a sizable lead over Democratic challenger Mark Norton. Bailey’s 24,520 votes tower over Norton’s 16,681.

In the race for the State Senate, incumbent Democrat Mary Margaret Haugen of Camano Island has developed a slight lead over Republican challenger April Axthelm of Mount Vernon. Early returns put the race within a few hundred votes, but continued counting through Friday saw Haugen’s lead opening. Haugen has 22,067 while Axthelm has 20,799 votes.

Island County still has approximately 8,000 ballots left to count, with more arriving each day. The county has until Nov. 17 to certify the totals. So far, 28,169 ballots have been counted, with the uncounted ballots, which puts Island County’s turnout rate at approximately 82 percent.

Tenth District races will also be affected by absentee and provisional ballots remaining to be counted in Skagit and Snohomish counties.

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