Voters in Thurston, Pierce and King counties elected U.S. Rep. Adam Smith to a seventh term in Congress Tuesday.
On a night when much was made of the Republican takeover of the House, Smith said he’s looking forward to getting down to the business of “dealing with Afghanistan and Iraq and national security issues in a responsible bipartisan way.”
Smith led challenger Dick Muri, a Republican member of the Pierce County Council, in overall voting in the 9th Congressional District.
But Muri, a Steilacoom resident, held a slim lead in Pierce County-only votes, according to early returns.
During the campaign, Muri attacked Smith as a free-spending liberal and criticized Smith’s support of health care-reform legislation.
Smith said he’d worked hard to represent the residents of the diverse district and believes he took the right vote on health care. But he also pointed out he challenged the cost of the legislation before he decided to support it and would birddog the dollars as the plan unfolds.
Smith expected a difficult two years when Barack Obama was elected president with a Democrat-controlled Congress in 2008, he said Tuesday.
As the health care debate boiled across the nation, Smith came home to hold town hall meetings, answering questions and taking criticism, something many of his colleagues avoided.
He’s been a minority member of Congress before, and he believes he can be an effective minority member again, he said.
It will be good, he added, “to get past campaign rhetoric” and work to solve the difficult issues of the national deficit and continued economic woes.
Smith, who’s a member of the House Armed Services Committee and chairman of the Subcommittee on Air and Land Forces, said he’ll also continue to work toward a “responsible” way to withdraw from Iraq and Afghanistan. Joint Base Lewis-Mc-Chord lies within the 9th District.
Republicans were hoping to prevail in the 2nd District, where Republican John Koster had a slight lead over Democratic incumbent U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen.
With 63 percent of the expected vote counted in unofficial returns, Koster led Larsen with 50.4 percent of the vote compared with Larsen’s 49.6 percent.
Koster, a farmer from Arlington , has the backing of tea party activists and the endorsement of 2008 Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin.
Larsen was first elected to the seat in 2000, beating Koster, who was then a state representative, by four percentage points.
The 2nd District spans the northern part of Western Washington from just north of Seattle up to the border with Canada and includes the San Juan Islands.
Republican Rep. Dave Reichert was re-elected Tuesday night after Democrat Suzan DelBene conceded the race. Reichert claimed 54 percent of the vote.
With about 63 percent of the expected vote counted Tuesday night, Democratic
Rep. Adam Smith was ahead of Republican Dick Muri with 54 percent of the vote. A fellow Democrat, U.S. Rep. Jay Inslee, was leading Republican James Watkins with 56 percent of the vote.
Elsewhere in the state, Republican reps. Doc Hastings and McMorris Rogers easily won re-election in their conservative Eastern Washington districts, as did Democrats Norm Dicks and Jim McDermott for their seats west of the Cascade Mountains.