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UPDATE | Hansen wins resoundingly in 23rd District, Position 2 battle; incumbent carries all Bainbridge Island precincts
State Rep. Drew Hansen will be returning to Olympia as the 23rd District’s Position 2 lawmaker.
The Democrat incumbent was leading Republican challenger James M. Olsen in the first vote count on Nov. 6 in the District 23 House race for Position 2. Hansen was in front with 59 percent of the vote, while Olsen had 40 percent.
Hansen’s advantage was much improved over his showing in the Primary Election, where Hansen finished first with 52 percent of the vote in a three-way race. Olsen picked up 40 percent of the vote in the primary.
Hansen said he was happy to get the chance to continue to work on matters important to residents of the 23rd District, including jobs and helping small businesses.
“I get to keep working on some common sense ideas I’ve been working on all summer,” he said.
“I am very, very, very grateful that the voters have entrusted me with this responsibility by such a wide margin and I’m going to work as hard for all of the people who voted for me as those who didn’t,” he said.
Hansen said he thought his focus on jobs had resonance with voters.
“My sense is that in my short time in the Legislature, I focussed on jobs with common sense ideas, like expanding the Olympic College engineering program, so we can train more engineers for the shipyards,” he said. “I think people here liked ideas like that and wanted to see more.”
Olsen, a retired captain in the Coast Guard Reserve who was taking his second shot at a 23rd District seat in the state House, conceded the race on Wednesday but vowed to stay active in politics.
“In this election the voters of the 23rd Legislative District had a bright-line choice between a business leader, me, or a trial lawyer, Mr. Hansen,” Olsen said in an email to the Review.
“The voters have selected but the battle is enjoined over the greater issues of Olympia reform and downsizing,” Olsen continued. “There is no question I have rung the bell for liberty and reform. I will double my efforts in the critical battle against the current money cycle of corruption: out-of-state special interest money combined with public-sector union pouring in to Democrat incumbents.”
“While this tactical skirmish is lost, as General Douglas MacArthur famously said in the his retreat from the Philippines in March 1942, I shall return,” Olsen said.
Olsen’s campaign revolved around the issues of excessive government spending, lower taxes, unfunded pension liabilities and excessive regulations. He also repeatedly took aim at Hansen’s background as an attorney, and the generous fundraising support the incumbent received from his fellow lawyers.
His campaign, however, sputtered when he was faulted for not following city of Bainbridge Island regulations on signs, and harsher criticism followed when he distributed a campaign flier that state officials said was unlawful because it was illustrated with the official seals of Washington state and the U.S. Coast Guard Reserve.
Hansen devoted his campaign largely to employment issues.
Hansen again won the battle for Bainbridge Island, as he had in the August primary. He outperformed Olsen in each of the island’s
22 precincts, according to an analysis by the Review of early and unofficial precinct returns comprised of 47,189 ballots cast in the 23rd District.
Hansen did best in Eagle Harbor, winning 81 percent of the vote.
In the precincts of Blue Heron, Blakely and Skiff Point, he pulled in 80 percent.
Hansen also did very well in Winslow and Island Center (79 percent), and Manzanita (78).
His lowest margin of victory came in the precinct of Tolo, with 69 percent.
Olsen did best far away from his home on Bainbridge Island, and posted his best results in Clear Creek and Fairview (collecting 57 percent of the vote); and in Old Frontier, Luoto and Ridgepoint (56 percent); and Sante Fe (53).