Republicans enjoyed something of a clean sweep in a handful of legislative races in Tuesday's election.
The only Democratic legislator from rural Eastern Washington lost to a Republican challenger, and freshman Rep. David Taylor, R-Moxee, won the right to complete the term he was appointed to.
Taylor was pulling in 69 percent of the votes, while Democrat John Gotts took 30 percent. Gotts, an Internet entrepreneur, never campaigned and lives in California. He previously lived in White Salmon.
Taylor, a rancher and land-use consultant, was appointed last spring to replace longtime state Rep. Dan Newhouse, R-Sunnyside, after Gov. Chris Gregoire named Newhouse head of the state Department of Agriculture. Taylor said he's committed to continuing Newhouse's legacy of standing up for Central Washington's farmers.
Creating more vocational education opportunities is among his goals. But, with a short legislative session next year and another projected multibillion dollar budget deficit, he knows any legislation with a price tag will be a tough sell in Olympia.
As for his own campaign, he's been surprised at just how well he's been able to raise funds, given the lack of opponent. Much of the money has come from companies like Anheuser-Busch and political action committees like the conservative-minded Affordable Housing Council of Central Washington, representing builders.
Though he had no opposition, he wound up raising about $55,000 for the general election campaign.
In another state House race in Eastern Washington, Republican Terry Nealey defeated freshman Rep. Laura Grant, D-Walla Walla. He was getting 57 percent of the vote to 43 percent for Grant.
Grant was appointed to the seat early this year after the death of her father, Bill Grant, who held the job for more than 20 years. The contest is for one of two state House seats in the 16th District, which includes Pasco and Walla Walla.
In the 9th District's all-Republican matchup, Susan Fagan was beating Pat Hailey 55 percent to 45 percent, with about 56 percent of the vote counted.
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