News

Republicans sweep 5th District

SNOQUALMIE VALLEY _ Two incumbent Republicans will

continue to represent the 5th District in Olympia and an athletic-facility bond is

failing after local voters cast their ballots in the Nov. 7 general election.

Sen. Dino Rossi and Rep. Cheryl Pflug, both of Issaquah, were

re-elected to a second term in office by a wide margin of 5th District

voters. Rossi won in a landslide against Democratic challenger

Azziem Underwood, Renton, 68.7 percent to 31.3 percent (30,607 votes to

13,956 votes), and Pflug handily defeated Democrat Lori Bechtold, Renton,

61.5 percent to 38.5 percent (27,009 votes to 16,901 votes) for the Position 2 seat.

Updated vote totals were released Monday by the King County

Records and Elections Division, and a final tally won't be available until

county officials finish counting absentee ballots.

Pflug said government reform, transportation, education and

property tax relief are just some of the issues legislators will grapple with in

the upcoming session. She added that several initiatives that won the

approval of voters would affect legislative decisions.

"I think it will be a long session as we try to make the numbers

balance in a way that is consistent with what the voters want," she said.

As the Valley Record went to press Tuesday, a measure calling for

the construction of an outdoor track and football/soccer field at

Cedarcrest High School in Duvall didn't have the supermajority needed to pass.

According to the Records and Election Division, Riverview School

District's $2.995 million bond measure had garnered 59.9 percent of the vote

(3,516 votes to 2,359 votes). In Washington, a bond measure must receive at

least 60 percent of the vote to pass.

In any other election, 59 percent of the vote would be a landslide,

said Assistant Superintendent Michael Green.

"The supermajority that schools have to jump through is

incredible," he said.

Similar measures have failed four times since 1994. District

administrators and school board members tried to make this year's proposal as

palatable as possible, scaling the project back to just the athletic field and

track, bleachers capable of seating 750 people, restrooms, a concession

stand and lighting. If approved, the measure would cost taxpayers 13 cents

per $1,000 of assessed valuation.

If the bond measure ultimately fails, Green said the district

would continue to use the field at Tolt Middle School, as well as using other

schools' facilities for athletic practice and competition.

"Currently we have [physical-education] classes who have

inadequate facilities for education," Green

said. "We have athletic teams that drive 11 miles down the Valley. Our track

team practices in the hallways and in the commons because we don't have

adequate facilities.

"It's very difficult for scheduling, especially when you've got

different sports going on simultaneously."

In another 5th District race, Republican Glenn Anderson, Fall

City, won out against Democrat Di Irons of Sammamish for the Position 1 seat

in the state House of Representatives. Anderson received 54 percent of

the vote to Irons's 42.5 percent (24,137 votes to 19,006 votes).

Like Pflug, Anderson would like a more efficient state government,

and he said voters aren't satisfied with the status quo.

"It's time to start really doing the people's business and getting

some solutions," he said. "People want to

see results."

It will be Anderson's first term in the Legislature, and he said he is

looking forward to the challenge. At the same time, he appreciates

receiving the voters' trust.

"It's pretty humbling with being the voice of the people in

Olympia," he said.

In the 45th District, which includes Duvall and Carnation, incumbent

Position 2 Democrat Laura Ruderman defeated Republican Toby Nixon

by a vote of 53.7 to 46.3 percent. For the Position 1 seat, Republican

Kathy Lambert won easily over Democrat Jim Gordon, 66.8 percent to 33.2

percent.

In the 8th Congressional District, incumbent Republican Jennifer

Dunn was re-elected to her U.S. House of Representatives seat, defeating

Heidi Behrens-Benedict 62 percent to 35.7 percent (145,986 votes to

84,079 votes), according to the Secretary of State's office.

Her term, however, may be cut short depending on who wins

the presidential election. Dunn is expected to become a member of Texas

Gov. George W. Bush's cabinet if he is elected president. If that

happens, some political analysts have suggested that Rossi could be tapped to take

her place on Capitol Hill.

Republican Sen. Slade Gorton and Democrat Maria Cantwell are

locked in a tight race for Gorton's seat. The Secretary of State's office said

Gorton led Cantwell by a little more than 12,000 votes and had a 49 percent

to 48.4 percent edge over his challenger. As of earlier this week, Gorton

had collected 1,017,295 votes, and Cantwell had 1,004,763 votes.

In the race for governor, incumbent Democrat Gary Locke beat

out Republican John Carlson 58 percent to 40 percent (1,209,491 votes

to 835,067 votes). In a statement, he said his second term would focus on

education, transportation and water.

"We've gone through one of the most exciting exercises in

democracy in more than 100 years," he said,

alluding to close races in Washington and for the presidency. "This

energy will feed us and spur us on."

Several initiatives were passed by voters, including a ban on

body-gripping traps for animals and measures to reduce class sizes and

increase teachers' salaries. I-745, which would have spent 90 percent of

transportation funds on roads, failed, as did an initiative establishing charter schools.

I-722, which would limit property tax increases to 2 percent annually

and void some 1999 tax and fee increases, was approved 56.5 percent to

43.6 percent by voters. Several cities filed lawsuits against the initiative

after Election Day, with the Carnation City Council voting to join the city of

Seattle in its suit.

Mayor Bob Patterson said the initiative would hurt the city financially.

"It would be quite harmful to us, and it's our understanding from

the advice we get that it would be unconstitutional," he said.

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