Goldmark wins lands-commissioner race; Sutherland won't concede
Democrat Peter Goldmark has unseated Republican Doug Sutherland in the race for Washington state lands commissioner.
The Associated Press
Democrat Peter Goldmark emerged as the winner in the state lands commissioner race Thursday, relying on the support of environmentalists and strong backing in King County to unseat two-term incumbent Doug Sutherland.
After more than two days of vote counting, the Okanogan rancher and molecular biologist built an insurmountable lead, 51.1 percent to 48.9 percent.
Sutherland declined to concede, saying, "There's a lot of counties where we have pretty strong support that have to be counted."
He said he didn't expect the result to be clear until Friday night, but an Associated Press analysis showed there were not enough outstanding votes in those counties to give Sutherland the win.
Goldmark won with the backing of environmentalists and had the support of more than 62 percent of voters in King County. During the campaign he painted Sutherland as too cozy with timber and mining interests, which donated heavily to the Republican's campaign.
Goldmark also seized on landslides and widespread floods in Lewis County last winter, saying they were partly the result of irresponsible logging allowed by Sutherland. That stuck with some voters.
"I don't know if Sutherland really had anything to do with the landslides and flooding, but if he did he shouldn't be in office," said 69-year-old Seattle resident Patricia Verrier, who voted for Goldmark.
Sutherland spokesman Todd Myers criticized Goldmark for running a "100 percent negative" campaign and said he represented a "last gasp of extreme environmentalism." Sutherland won in 33 of the state's 39 counties — including Lewis, where he had more than 65 percent of the vote.
The commissioner heads the Department of Natural Resources, which manages 5.6 million acres of state lands. Income generated by harvesting timber or leasing land to farmers is used to pay for construction of schools and other state expenses.
Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company
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