News

Smith leads Democrat who’s set for ‘a fair fight’ in representative race

Despite the surprisingly strong showing of her 26-year-old challenger, South Whidbey’s friendliest Republican, legislative District 10 incumbent Rep. Norma Smith, appears to be well on a her way to another term in Olympia, according to this week’s primary election results.

As of Thursday’s count, district results showed that Smith, R-Clinton, earned the endorsement of 18,188 constituents, or 59 percent of the total vote.

“I’m very encouraged people feel I’m representing them and will continue to earn that trust,” Smith said.

However, it’s a long time until November and Smith says she not counting any chickens before they hatch. Her challenger, Aaron Simpson, D-Langley, has no past political experience, but the live-at-home barista, music composer and pilot made it clear this race is far from over by reining in 12,814 votes, or 41 percent of the total.

Smith, who described Simpson as a “bright young man,” said she’s not at all surprised by the turnout as the district, which includes all of Island County and portions of Skagit and Snohomish counties, is anything but predictable.

“That’s what you would expect in a swing district,” Smith said. “I’m just really pleased.”

Smith has been campaigning since early summer, knocking on doors and sending out mailers. She said she has no intention of resting on her laurels and will be working hard between now and the general election to earn more votes.

“It’s just beginning,” she said. “We have a lot of work to do before November.”

While this week’s election results may have come as no surprise to Smith, the same cannot be said for Simpson. He admitted he had not anticipated so many votes, but he’s not complaining.

“I’m very pleased,” Simpson said. “The results exceeded my optimistic expectations.”

Simpson said he hasn’t been doing any door belling but has focused instead on firming up a political foundation among Democrats by visiting and speaking to party-affiliated groups.

The results of the primary were telling, said Simpson, because they show that people are “ready for a voice that doesn’t have to reach across the aisle to get to the room where the decisions are made.”

At the very least, it’s boosted his confidence and energized him for the upcoming campaign, which he agrees is just getting started.

“It’s no longer a David and Goliath battle,” Simpson said. “It’s a fair fight.”

Bailey leads

The primary results also show a tight race for the District 10 Senate seat, currently occupied by Mary Margaret Haugen, D-Camano. She is being challenged by longtime Whidbey Island colleague from across the isle, Barbara Bailey, R-Oak Harbor.

Although Haugen has retained a seat in Olympia since 1983, serving first in the House of Representatives before going on to the Senate in 1993, the entrenched Democrat could be in trouble.

As of Thursday, Bailey was leading the district results with 52 percent, or 16,687 votes. That stacks up to Haugen’s 48 percent, or 15,212 votes. The veteran senator is also losing on Whidbey with 10,254 votes to Bailey’s 10,831.

In local races, District 1 Island County commissioner candidate and incumbent Democrat Helen Price Johnson continues to dominate with about 55 percent of the vote. Republican Jeff Lauderdale is still the runner up with about 26 percent.

Trailing behind is Independent Curt Gordon, about 14 percent, Republican Wayne Morrison, about 4 percent, and Independent Ed Jenkins, about 1 percent.

In District 2, Republican Jill Johnson is maintaining a slim lead of about 34 percent over incumbent Democrat Angie Homola, who has about 32 percent. Republican Jim Campbell has about 24 percent to Independent Phil Collier’s 10 percent. Both are Republicans.

We encourage an open exchange of ideas on this story's topic, but we ask you to follow our guidelines for respecting community standards. Personal attacks, inappropriate language, and off-topic comments may be removed, and comment privileges revoked, per our Terms of Use. Please see our FAQ if you have questions or concerns about using Facebook to comment.

Read the latest Green Edition

Browse the print edition page by page, including stories and ads.

Jul 23 edition online now. Browse the archives.