Simpson-Hargrove race warming up

The most heated local contest this election season is between state Rep. Geoff Simpson and Mark Hargrove. Here’s an example.

About a week after results of the primary election last month had Hargrove, a Republican, ahead of Simpson by about five percentage points, Hargrove poked the incumbent Democrat in the ribs (figuratively) for not faring better.

“He sent out glossy mailings, bought television advertising, and hired dozens of workers to distribute his literature and put up his signs. Still, he lost,” Hargrove said in a statement sent to the news media. “In contrast, we ran a grassroots effort with not a single paid staff member – just hundreds of friends and neighbors. These are people who are sick and tired of being supposedly represented in Olympia by a person who clearly doesn’t care about their needs and priorities.”

Only most of the last sentence of that comment was included in a short news article in the Aug. 27 edition of the Reporter, but the article brought a response the same day from Lisa MacLean, a partner in Moxie Media, a political consulting firm working with the Simpson campaign.

“Voters aren’t buying Hargrove’s spin, and they won’t support a candidate who exaggerates his own results for political gain,” said MacLean in a statement she sent the Reporter after calling and saying it was on its way. She went on to say that “working families are struggling and want a proven leader” like Simpson, “who fights for them and finds real solutions, not a first-time candidate who uses political spin to compensate for a lack of experience.”

McLean also noted Simpson has never finished ahead of a Republican challenger in an open primary election but has always won in the general election.

The campaigns are also at odds over how to interpret the votes that went in the primary to Democrat Leslie Kae Hamada. Hargrove indicated her showing indicated dissatisfaction with Simpson among Democrat-leaning voters, while MacLean said Hamada’s voters added to Simpson’s “show Democrats enjoying an advantage of more than 10 percentage points in this race.” She added that Hargrove doesn’t know his “electoral math.”

And so it goes.

Editor and publisher Pat Jenkins can be reached at (425) 432-1209 (extension 1050) and pjenkins@reporternewspapers.com

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