Strong support from voters in Thurston County has given Democrat Bruce Lachney the lead in the primary election over incumbent Randi Becker in the race for state senator in the two-county Second District.
In vote tallies Tuesday after voting ended, Lachney, with 43 percent, had a five percentage point margin over Becker. They will advance to the general election in November to decide the winner of a four-year term.
Republican Jim Vaughn, the third candidate in the primary, is the odd man out after polling about 18 percent.
The candidates are campaigning in a newly reconfigured district that, in addition to south Pierce County communities such as Eatonville and Graham, now stretches farther north to the South Hill area in Pierce County and also takes in part of Thurston County.
Lachney received 2,562 votes in Thurston County to Becker’s 1,702. That overcame Becker’s edge in Pierce County, where she outpolled Lachney 3,326 to 3,101.
Election officials in the two counties still have ballots to count before the results become official later this month.
Becker, a 63-year-old Republican, a wants a second four-year term in the Senate. Her campaign positions include advocacy of making higher education more affordable.
Before being elected for the first time in 2008, when she defeated longtime incumbent Marilyn Rasmussen, a Democrat, Becker worked in real estate and medical practice administration.
Lachney, a commercial cranberry grower from Eatonville, has said the state’s business and occupation tax is too high, and that the state must improve its funding of education.
The 52-year-old Lachney is a former Eatonville School Board member and currently serves on the Clover Park Technical College Board of Ttrustees.