By ROBERT WHALE Auburn Reporter News reporter Nov 05 2010, 1:30 PM
In a curtained-off corner on the second floor of the Truitt Building in downtown Auburn on election evening, state senate candidate Joe Fain was doing his best to remain calm at one of the most important moments of his life, making small talk with staff and family, standing for photographs with his fiancée, Steffanie Moxon.
But his eyes never strayed far from the cell phone in his hands.
As the first returns rolled in about 8:15 p.m., showing him beating Democratic State Sen. Claudia Kauffman by a comfortable margin, Fain’s mouth dropped open in stunned surprise and a chorus of cheers and applause erupted from fellow Republicans monitoring returns on the other side of the curtain.
Overwhelmed at the idea of attaining a prize he had fought so hard and long for, walked countless miles for, worn out three sets of sneakers for, Fain threw his arms around his bride-to-be, enfolding her in a long, emotional embrace. When his mother ran to a window to collect her runaway emotions, he followed her and hugged her. His father, Dick Fain, gave a thumbs up.
Fain, formerly chief of staff to King County Councilman Pete Von Reichbauer, took a moment to reflect on the campaign.
"I think we ran an incredibly positive campaign that spoke to issues important to me, but more important to voters in South King County — improving our schools, getting our spending under control in state government and getting jobs back on track," Fain said. "I think voters recognize when they are being talked to straight but more important when they are being listened to."
By late Thursday, Fain's margin of victory was 17,038 votes (55.48 percent) to Kaufmann’s 13,672 votes (44.52 percent) in the 47th Legislative District contest. Kauffman conceded the contest in a press release.
"With the majority of the ballots counted, it appears that I will not be returning to the Washington State Senate for a second term," Kauffman said in a statement. "We fought a hard campaign, but as we're seeing all across the state and the country, it was a tough election year for incumbent Democrats."
In the bitter Republican-vs-Republican contest for state senator from the 31st Legislative District, five-term incumbent Pam Roach trounced her opponent, Sumner City Councilman Matt Richardson, by a greater than 2-to-1 margin as of Thursday, taking 23,781 votes (67.16 percent) to Richardson's 11,630 votes (32.84 percent). As of Friday, Richardson had not yet conceded the race.
In the second Republican-vs.-Republican race in the 31st Legislative District, Enumclaw School Board member Cathy Dahlquist's margin of victory over Pierce County Councilman Shawn Bunney was 18,478 votes (52.40 percent) to Bunney's 16,787 votes (47.60 percent).
Also in the 31st Legislative District, Dem. Rep. Chris Hurst beat his Republican opponent, Patrick Reed, collecting 21,848 votes (57.64 percent) to Reed's 16,055 votes (42.36 percent).
In the 47th Legislative District, Democratic Rep. Geoff Simpson lost his bid for reelection to Republican Mark Hargrove, Hargrove earning 17,365 (57.10 percent) to Simpson's 13,045 votes (42.90 percent).
Simpson conceded the race Thursday.
"Though the votes are still being counted, the results are clear," Simpson said. "The voters of the 47th District have elected Mark Hargrove to the State House of Representatives, and he will serve as their voice in Olympia for the next two years. I congratulate Mark on a hard-fought campaign. He was worked hard, and I wish him well with his new responsibilities."
Also in the 47th, Democratic Rep. Pat Sullivan garnered 16,932 votes (56.20 percent) to Republican Rodrigo Yanez' 13,198 votes (43.80 percent) by late Thursday.
In the contest for the Southeast Electoral District of King County District Court, Matt Williams was holding a slim 797-vote lead over his opponent, David Tracy, Williams with 33,963 votes (50.33 percent) counted by Thursday to Tracy's 33,166 votes (49.15 percent).
All tallies are preliminary and subject to change.