Bitter race goes to Eickmeyer

State Rep. William "Ike" Eickmeyer was leading by a wide margin Tuesday against used-car entrepreneur Randy Neatherlin to secure his fifth House term.

The candidates feuded on the campaign trail over whether Eickmeyer was doing enough quickly to clean up Puget Sound, and backers of each candidate attacked their opponent's character or past actions.

"No. 1, they didn't put up a candidate who had any substance. What they tried to do is what they tried to do two years ago, run a negative candidate to tear me down," Eickmeyer said of the outcome. "Voters in the 35th district said they don't like that."

The 35th district includes all or part of four counties, including west Thurston County and the Hood Canal in Mason County. It has been a focal point of much campaign arguing.

During the campaign, Neatherlin said Eickmeyer was a back-bench lawmaker who had no accomplishments despite being chairman of a special committee devoted to Hood Canal.

Eickmeyer countered that Neatherlin was dishonest and a troublemaker sowing dissension in the Belfair community near where both live.