Incumbent Democrats prevailed on the primary ballot in Washington’s 49th Legislative District on Tuesday night, with Rep. Monica Stonier and Rep. Sharon Wylie both sailing through to the general election.
Stonier won 61.71 percent of the vote, based on first tallies from the Clark County Elections Office. She’ll face off in November against Park Llafet, a Republican who gained 31.81 percent. The third candidate seeking Stonier’s seat, independent Troy Potter, did not earn enough votes to make it to the general election.
Wylie won 58.84 percent of the vote. Her general election challenger will be Justin Forsman, a Republican who won 30.52 percent of ballots. Kelli Danielle Fiskum, an independent challenging Wylie for her seat, won 10.65 percent of the vote and will not advance to the general election.
After the results were announced, Wylie said that no election cycle has ever felt “more intense and more consequential,” over her 45-year involvement in politics.
“Locally, I think there have been a huge number of new people over the last couple of years that have gotten their feet wet,” Wylie said. “A lot of richness and variety in the people that step up to be leaders.”
She also expressed surprise about Forsman’s victory over Fiskum, chalking it up to name recognition. Forsman has sought several city council and state Legislature seats over the last few years.
Forsman told The Columbian on Tuesday evening that he had doubts in the left’s leadership.
“I got about 3,000 votes more than I’ve ever got,” Forsman said. “I’m pretty excited, mainly because of the country and the state that it’s in. I’d like to say it’s for personal reasons I’m excited, but it’s mainly because I feel strongly about this country and it surviving.”
On Election Day, Forsman distributed a campaign flier claiming that “Communists are openly attempting to overthrow our country” by “developing vaccines with microchip technology to be forced,” and that “Elites want a world without humans.”
Tuesday night’s tally was a preliminary one. According to the Clark County Elections Office, 94,291 returned ballots have been counted, with an estimated 30,000 to go. Total voter turnout for the election was 31.05 percent, compared with 2016’s primary voter turnout of 30.6 percent.
The 49th District is friendly territory for Democrats and the only staunch liberal district in Clark County. It encompasses the densely populated portion of west Vancouver.
Stonier called Clark County a “dynamic” political environment.
“I’m pleased with my results and looking forward to what the next count shows,” Stonier said. “I’m glad that our turnout in this county is higher than it was in the last presidential election year. I think that means we’re reaching voters and people are starting to figure out how important their vote is.”
Llafet said he thinks he can win in a traditionally Democratic district.
“I believe it’s going to be a hard battle, but I believe it’s possible,” Llafet said. “I think we can make it a very tough race.”
Stonier, Llafet, Wylie and Forsman will appear on the Nov. 3 general election ballot alongside Sen. Annette Cleveland, the four-term Democrat running for reelection, and her challenger, Vancouver police officer and Republican Rey Reynolds. Cleveland led Reynolds by 19 percentage points on election night.