Lake Stevens Journal - Your hometown newspaper since 1960


By Erin Mccallum
Contributing Writer 

Many Legislative races have already been decided – but hot races exist here in the 44th District


September 11, 2012

Voter turnout in the primary election last month was largely seen as disappointing, with just over 38 percent rather than the 46 percent that was projected. There are several reasons for the apathy, but the most important may be that many of the primary races weren’t competitive. Roughly two-thirds of Washington’s legislative races have now been decided before ballots even drop for the general election.

Even with so many legislative races already decided, there are several that remain highly competitive, including right here in the 44th legislative district where there is a state House race up for grabs.

Incumbent Democrat Hans Dunshee, who’s been in the state House since 1997, is facing off against Republican challenger Mark Harmsworth for the first seat. This will be competitive, which is why it’s important you become informed about these candidates and what they will do if elected.

Regardless of the specific race, however, it is vital that all Washington voters do their research and become informed on these candidates over these coming weeks.

Washingtonians will be voting for president, a new governor, attorney general, secretary of state and several other important statewide positions. There are also six measures on the ballot that have a large impact on the state both fiscally and socially.

Your vote always matters, in races both large and small. We all remember the 2004 governor’s race that was decided by a margin of .0047 percent or 133 votes.

Washington has a long history of close elections. In 1990, the state House race in the 24th District, the Olympic Peninsula, was decided by a difference of two votes. After three recounts, it was confirmed that Incumbent Democrat Evan Jones had defeated his challenger Ann Goos. Surely there were at least two people in that district who thought their votes wouldn’t matter.

More recently, there were a total of eight legislative races in 2010 with a margin of victory of two percent or less. So regardless of the cliché, every vote really does count!

In 2013, Washington legislators will be navigating the nation’s new health care law, how to manage our state’s budget, as well as how to prioritize spending for education.

Because each of these issues will have a major impact on the future of Washington’s economic health, now is the time to get engaged and help elect men and women who are business-minded and competent.

There are nearly 30 competitive races in the general election that will decide the balance of power in our state government at the legislative level including right here in the 44th district.

Get engaged and informed so you can help to establish a positive direction for our state in November. Our state’s economic competitiveness is at stake.

Erin McCallum is President of the nonprofit, nonpartisan Enterprise Washington and the Business Institute of Washington, both of which help companies and employees better understand how elected officials establish public policy, and how to become more involved in the political process. To learn more, you can log onto


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