PORT ORCHARD — Candidates running for legislative seats representing the 26th Legislative District in Olympia are preparing themselves for continued razor-thin vote margins after returns on Election Night in Kitsap County showed two of the races separated by about a single percentage point.
Democrat Emily Randall, running in her first election to succeed retiring Republican Jan Angel, leads handpicked successor candidate Marty McClendon by a 50.8 percent to 49.1 percent margin. Randall received 11,530 votes to McClendon’s 11,149 vote total.
Prior to joining her supporters just after results were posted at a Democratic party celebration at Puerto Vallarta restaurant in Port Orchard, Randall said her team knew the election would be close.
“We knew it would be close, because that’s why we worked so, so hard,” Randall said. “Everyone here has knocked on doors, made phone calls and laid it all out on the table. We’re feeling good about the work that we’ve done — and we’re going to keep watching.”
She later addressed an enthused group of party celebrants at the restaurant after an introduction by U.S. Rep. Derek Kilmer, who was easily reelected to his seat in Congress:
“I am so thrilled,” Randall told the crowd. “We have worked incredibly hard since January, 10 months of walking
and walking … I can just imagine if we totaled up all the miles all those in this room have walked to talk to neighbors all around the district. We have knocked on over 33,000 doors.
“We have talked to so many people in our community who are ready to make changes, ready to rally alongside each other, hold each other close and fight for the future we all deserve.”
Randall said she vowed to not let “the politics in Washington, D.C. dictate how we treat each other here in Washington state.”
Young holds slim lead, Caldier reelected
The other close race in the legislative district involves the Position 1 state representative seat. Incumbent Jesse L. Young has a 51.1 percent to 48.9 percent lead over Democrat Connie FitzPatrick. Young’s vote total was 11,531 versus FitzPatrick’s 11,038.
The race for state representative Position 2 resulted in a slightly more comfortable margin for incumbent Republican Michelle Caldier, who leads Democrat Joy Stanford by a 53.8 to 46.2 percent margin. Caldier received 12,118 votes, Stanford 10,400 votes.