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Offering commentary and analysis from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Tuesday, August 6th, 2019

State Senator Liz Lovelett leads in 40th LD special election, trailed by Daniel Miller

Recently appointed State Senator Liz Lovelett (D-40th District: Anacortes) appears to be in a good position to defend her seat in the 40th Legislative District, which includes San Juan County and portions of Whatcom and Skagit Counties.

Lovelett joined the Washington State Senate in February, a few weeks after Democratic State Senator Kevin Ranker abruptly resigned. Ranker stepped down following allegations that he harassed a female employee.

Assuming she wins, Lovelett will again have to defend the seat again in a year when the position is normally contested. (State Senate terms are for four years; the 40th LD elects its senator in presidential cycles.)

Before serving as State Senator, Lovelett was on the Anacortes City Council, representing an at large position, Position #6, since 2013.

Lovelett’s challengers are Daniel Miller, a Friday Harbor Republican; Greta Aitken, a Burlington Democrat; and Carrie Blackwood, a Bellingham Democrat.

Although she was a newcomer to the Washington Legislature this year, six of Lovelett’s bills passed the State House and Senate before moving on to the Governor’s desk, including HB 2119, which protects Blanchard Mountain from logging and SB 5918, which introduced orca safety education in boat licensing. Lovelett is hoping to return to Olympia to work on fighting pollution.

As of 8:48 PM, Lovelett had 6,125 votes in her column. Blackwood was in second place with 3,876 votes, and Daniel Miller trailed in third place with 3,258 votes.

At that point, Skagit County had not reported any results at all.

Shortly before 10 PM, Skagit County belatedly reported its first results. Lovelett remains in first place, but there has been a lead change for second. Republican Daniel Miller is now ahead of Blackwood. 

Here’s how the numbers break down as of 9:50 PM:

  • Lovelett (incumbent): 47.16%
  • Miller (Republican challenger): 29.62%
  • Blackwood (Democratic challenger): 20.58%
  • Aitken (Democratic challenger): 1.55%
  • Write-in: 0.25%

Blackwood, also a Democrat, is running for office for the first time and is currently a lawyer in Bellingham, specializing in workplace law.

If elected, Blackwood hopes to address income inequality, as well as the climate crisis. She supports progressive tax reform and a higher minimum wage.

Blackwood is backed by the Young Democrats of Washington and the Riveters Collective, as well as a few unions.

As mentioned, the top two vote getters from this election will move on to the November 5th general election, with the winner serving through 2020.

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