Incumbent Rep. Norma Smith, R-Clinton represents the state’s 10th district.

Incumbent Rep. Norma Smith, R-Clinton represents the state’s 10th district.

Republican incumbents’ seats could be in danger in narrow contests

If Tuesday’s primary results are an indicator of how November’s election will go, Republican incumbents may have cause to be worried.

Primary election results show close contests in races for state representative, Island County sheriff and District No. 3 county commissioner.

In the race for the state House of Representatives, Republican incumbents Norma Smith and Dave Hayes said they believe Tuesday’s results mirror races in a number of districts in the Puget Sound area.

“That gives me a pretty good indication of some things … (that) it’s not just me,” Hayes said.

Smith said the results are a “response to the national political climate.”

Democrat Scott McMullen narrowly edged in front of incumbent Smith, R-Clinton, with over 51 percent of the Island County vote. Democrat Dave Paul won more than 55 percent of the vote against Hayes, R-Camano Island.

McMullen said he hasn’t thought about the trend elsewhere in the state or nation and is “totally focused” on his district. Given discussions he’s had with voters, though, he said he isn’t surprised by the results.

Results that include Skagit and Snohomish counties also show McMullen ahead at 51 percent and Paul with around 53 percent against the sitting representatives.

“I was surprised at the margin,” Hayes said.

Smith and Hayes said they are not discouraged, however.

Hayes points to his work on the opioid crisis, transportation and public safety, and said he’ll “work doubly hard and continue to push my message forward.”

Smith said a challenge that comes with representing a rural district is people might not be aware of the work she’s done, especially in regards to environmental protection, net neutrality and data privacy. She said she’ll be attending a number of forums in Island County and engaging in “aggressive door-belling efforts.”

Paul said he also isn’t surprised by the numbers.

“If there’s a general trend, it is that folk are frustrated,” he said.

Paul said he knows the race isn’t over, and said there is a lot more work in the months leading up to the general election in November.

In the race for sheriff, Chief Criminal Deputy Rick Felici received just over 52 percent of the vote against Deputy Lane Campbell.

Campbell said he’s encouraged by the results.

“I’m pretty happy with them, especially since I just started in March,” he said. “By no means would I say this fight is over.”

Felici echoed that he found the results encouraging and said he expected a close contest.

District No. 3, which encompasses North Whidbey and Camano Island, results show Democrat Janet St. Clair with 51.7 percent of the vote over incumbent commissioner Rick Hannold, a Republican.

St. Clair and Hannold will appear on countywide ballots in November.

Hannold said he knew the race would be close and wasn’t surprised.

He said he doesn’t plan to change his strategy and hopes for a higher turnout in the general election.

St. Clair said she is pleased with the primary results and sees them as a result of her volunteers’ hard work.

St. Clair also has no plans to change her strategy.

“I think the grassroots approach is what’s really paying off so far,” she said.

Senate incumbent Maria Cantwell, a Democrat, received over 53 percent of the vote against her challenger in November, Susan Hutchison, who received 28.6 percent.

U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen, a Democrat, won more than 64 percent of the Island County vote, and his next challenger was Uncle Mover, a candidate who, in his candidate questionnaire, said the single biggest issue in the position is “alien presence/NASA, covert space budget.”

Incumbent Rep. Dave Hayes, R-Camano Island represents the state’s 10th district.

Incumbent Rep. Dave Hayes, R-Camano Island represents the state’s 10th district.

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