MOUNT VERNON — Claus Joens, a Democrat and Concrete High School teacher, and current state Sen. Keith Wagoner, R-Sedro-Woolley, are leading in the 39th Legislative District race after Tuesday’s primary election.

Joens is leading with 40 percent of the vote, while Wagoner is in second with 29 percent.

Also in the race for Wagoner’s current seat is former state Rep. Elizabeth Scott and Jamal Rabieh.

The two candidates with the most votes will advance to the general election Nov. 6.

The 39th Legislative District encompasses eastern Skagit and Snohomish counties, including Sedro-Woolley, and northern King County.

Joens, who works as a career and technical education teacher, said he was shocked by his lead Tuesday.

He said he believes his support is from the community members he met — both liberals and conservatives — who say they are frustrated with extreme partisan politics.

“The right place to be is in the middle, where we’re at least talking to each other,” he said.

The 39th District reliably elects Republicans, but Joens said he believes he has a chance this year if he keeps hearing from voters that they want an alternative to status quo politicians.

“A lot of Republican voters are tired of divisive politics,” he said.

Wagoner, who’s been serving in the state Senate since he was appointed in January, said he’s feeling good about his second-place position, but that it’s too early to celebrate.

His lead over Scott is small, at about 500 votes. However, he said if the results hold, he’s confident Republicans will support him in November.

“I expected the Republican vote would be split,” he said.

While he was proud of his performance in Snohomish County, where Scott is from, the support in Skagit County impressed him.

“Skagit County really came out for me,” he said.

{div}An updated ballot count is expected later this week, according to the county Elections Department. {/div}

— Reporter Brandon Stone:, 360-416-2112, Twitter: @Brandon_SVH{p style=”margin-bottom: 0in;”}

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