Rep. Ed Orcutt, R-Kalama, may have been ousted from the 18th District as a result of redistricting earlier in the year, but the change in surroundings didn’t affect his bid for re-election.
A decade-long incumbent, Orcutt rolled over fellow Republican John Morgan, a Rochester-based small-business owner, by a two-thirds margin Tuesday.
Orcutt said he’d worked hard in recent months to introduce himself to his new constituents by crisscrossing Lewis and Thurston counties, which are new to him.
Bolstering the economy remains at the top of Orcutt’s priority list. He said it is time to start putting people back to work.
“When we get people back to work, everybody prospers,” he said. “It’s just very clear to me, that if we put people back to work our economy prospers.”
The newly redrawn 20th District is composed of the lower third of Thurston County, Lewis County, with the exception of its western corner, Cowlitz County, except its northwestern corner, and a northern sliver of Clark County.
About 10,000 Clark County residents reside in the 20th District.
While the 20th District elected one new face, albeit an incumbent, it also turned out one long-time legislator Tuesday night.
Sen. Dan Swecker, R-Rochester, lost his bid for re-election to newcomer John Braun, who received 57 percent of the vote to Swecker’s 43 percent.
The race was tightly fought, with both candidates raising and spending money.
Swecker raised $159,865 and spent $119,452 on his campaign. Braun — the president of Braun Northwest, which manufactures emergency vehicles–stuck close to Swecker on the money front, raising $116,465 and spending $106,181, primarily from his own coffers.
Swecker is known as a traditional values Republican. He opposed gay marriage after the state Senate’s adoption of a bill redefining marriage earlier in the year, saying it would lead to “the silencing of those who believe in traditional marriage.”
Both Braun and Swecker emphasized economic issues as well.
Braun said he wants the Legislature to focus on properly funding education while at the same time reversing growth in government.
Rep. Richard DeBolt, R-Chehalis, won his eighth term in the House. He was unopposed.