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Haugen handily defeats Haddon in 10th District senate race

Democrat Mary Margaret Haugen won another four-year term in the state Senate from the 10th Legislative District on Tuesday, handily defeating Republican challenger Linda Haddon of Oak Harbor.

With more than 65 percent of the vote counted, Haugen received 54 percent of the vote, 21,901, to Haddon's 46 percent, 18,439.

"I think people realize what I've done for the district, and how hard I worked," Haugen said Tuesday night. "I'm not a career politician, I'm a career public servant."

"This has been the nastiest campaign I ever had run against me," she added. "It shows that if you take the high road, the citizens appreciate that."

Haddon declined to speak about the race to a reporter Tuesday night.

The campaign was a pure example of experience versus change.

Haugen, 67, of Camano Island, has been in the state Legislature for 26 years, the past 15 in the Senate.

Haddon, 60, is a certified "life celebrant" who conducts weddings, memorials and funerals. A longtime businesswoman and community activist, she is a relative newcomer to politics. A former Island County planning commissioner, she was part of the 1991 community task force that helped prevent the closure of Whidbey Island Naval Air Station.

In the campaign, Haugen stressed her experience and the working relationships she has developed in Olympia and elsewhere that allow her to deliver the goods for the district.

Haddon praised Haugen's service, but said it was time for new ideas.

Haugen said during the campaign that being chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee put her in a position to see that the ferry system remains a high priority in the overall transportation budget.

Haddon said earlier that the state of the ferry system, especially the Keystone-Port Townsend run, helped push her into the race.

"For 20 years we have known the boats needed to be replaced," she said during the campaign. "Planning, maintenance and seamless transition into new vessels should have happened. It didn't."

Haugen stressed that Island County won't escape the mounting economic problems facing the nation, and that she is in a position to help.

Haddon responded that the most important economic issue is the "tremendous deficit we are facing in the state."

"Spending at 2 1/2 times the rate of revenue is financial suicide," she said during the campaign.

Contributions played a big part in the primary, a three-way race in which Haugen received 53 percent of the vote, and Haddon 42 percent.

At one point, an unsubstantiated claim surfaced that Haugen was using state funds in her campaign, which she vigorously denied.

Haddon, meanwhile, received substantial support from the Washington Oil Marketers Association.

"My contributors reflect my record," Haugen said during the campaign. "I am known as a problem solver who is willing to work across party lines to get the job done."

Late in the general election campaign, negative fliers attacking Haugen flooded mailboxes in the district. They were distributed by a Bellevue-based political action committee that received contributions groups tied to Republicans in the state.

Haddon said she had nothing to do with the ads, and was powerless to stop them.

Haugen promised during the campaign that if reelected, she would continue to work for local economic development, property tax reform, farmland preservation, the cleanup of Puget Sound and affordable and accessible healthcare.

The 10th Legislative District includes all of Island County and parts of Skagit and Snohomish counties.

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