On your mark, get set, go for the primary season
Last updated 7/19/2018 at Noon
Three incumbents will try to set a tone for the General Election in November when they each take on a challenger in races to represent voters in the 44th Legislative District next year in Olympia.
Democrat John Lovick (D-Mill Creek) will face former Snohomish County Councilmember Jeff Sax in the contest for Position No. 1 in the Legislature. Mark Harmsworth will try to retain his seat in Position No. 2 as the only Republican who currently represents the 44th against a challenge from Mill Creek City Councilmember Jared Mead.
State Sen. Steve Hobbs (D-Lake Stevens) will be challenged by Republican Doug Roulstone and Jeremy Fitch, who identifies himself as a Libertarian, in the contest for the four-year post in the state Senate.
Hobbs said he would continue to campaign as he has always done, by knocking on doors, using direct mail and cable television to get his message to the voters.
The chairman of the Senate Committee on Transportation admitted he is under more stress during this election cycle because of outside money from the Republican Party in Washington, D.C. that has been used to buy negative ads against him.
“The Republicans feel they need this district to have any hope of taking control of the Senate in Olympia,” Hobbs told The Beacon. “As of last week, they have seemingly gained control of the U.S. Supreme Court. Their next objective is control of state legislatures.”
The 48-year-old has served in the state Senate since 2006. He plans to talk to voters about issues that are important to residents of his district, including the widening of I-405 and Highway 9 to handle additional traffic from new developments.
Hobbs has been credited with securing funds for road repairs to 35th Avenue SE in Mill Creek. His goal is to guarantee that fast-growing Snohomish County gets its fair share of infrastructure funding from the state.
His opponent is Doug Roulstone, a former officer in the U.S. Navy who spent two months in the Legislature in 2014 to serve out the term of Mike Hope. He previously ran for a seat in Congress, but was defeated by incumbent Rick Larson in 2006.
“I will go to Olympia to defend the hard-working people of the 44th District,” Roulstone said. The challenger anticipates using his experience with the aerospace industry to establish a pipeline from local high schools to employers near Paine Field.
“I’ve rung 6,000 doorbells since launching my campaign. Some Democrats have told me that my ideas are reasonable, and I’ve provided them with a candidate they could vote for.”
Fitch did not respond to requests for an interview.
Nothing else matters
Lovick said he will continue to campaign as he always has, by knocking on hundreds of doors to meet constituents of the district. His message this year will focus on education, especially the safety of children in local schools.
“After four decades in law enforcement, I feel it is imperative for me to use my expertise to help kids feel safe while they are in school. Kids and teachers do not feel safe from the ever-present threat of gun violence on campus.
“If we can’t keep children safe, nothing else really matters.”
Like Hobbs, the Mill Creek Democrat wants to make sure the 44th District gets its “piece of the pie when it comes to spending in Olympia.” He is focused on bringing light rail to the southern portions of Snohomish County.
His opponent in August and again in November claims he made the decision to challenge Lovick because of the incumbent’s recent trend to hide government emails from the public.
“I’ve known Mr. Lovick for a long time, since our days working together at the Snohomish County Courthouse,” Sax said. “I’ve seen him change over the years, and not in a positive way. That’s why I’m running.”
Position No. 2 in the state House will pit the ranking member of the Transportation Committee against a 27-year-old with experience working with the Legislature and a member of the his hometown City Council.
Harmsworth hopes to continue to use his position on the Transportation Oversight Committee to fight tolls on the Route 2 trestle that connects Lake Stevens with Everett. He also would like to build on the McCleary Decision that funded K-12 education to be sure that teachers are well paid.
Mead has been doorbelling fulltime in the district since he filed to run for the Legislature in March. The Jackson High graduate knows from his work as a legislative aide that he can do more to help residents of Mill Creek and the surrounding communities than by fulfilling his first term on the City Council.
“Getting our fair share of the budget for our district will improve schools and help repair our damaged roadways,” Mead said. “I explain to people that my decision to represent the district in Olympia will bring more revenue into Mill Creek than I could ever do as a member of the council.”