Larson-Hazelo

Rick Larsen (left) and Timothy Hazelo.

Longtime U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen was holding a strong lead Tuesday for his House seat in the 2nd Congressional District.

The 2nd District encompasses parts of Snohomish, Skagit and Whatcom counties and all of Island and San Juan counties.

"I'm very pleased with the numbers," Larsen said.

Overall, Larsen leads opponent Timothy Hazelo, a Republican from Oak Harbor, with 65% of the vote. So far, 220,866 ballots have been cast for Larsen, compared to Hazelo's 115,911.

In Skagit County, Larsen, who was first elected to the seat in 2000, has a similar, albeit slightly smaller lead, with 62% of the vote, or about 14,000 ballots.

Larsen said he felt his focus on the COVID-19 pandemic — putting public health at the forefront to lead to economic recovery — resonated with voters.

"It was the winning message, but it was also the right thing to do," he said.

Larsen said he felt comfortable he would hold his lead.

Once the election is behind him, Larsen said he intends to shift his focus back fully to the COVID-19 pandemic and to providing assistance in the form of another relief package.

"(People) are still hurting," he said. "They still need support."

While he was still hoping to close the gap between himself and Larsen, Hazelo said he had expected numbers like the ones released Tuesday.

"I still hold out a lot of hope," he said. "I know it's an uphill battle."

Even if he doesn't win, he said he hopes to close the gap enough to show that a Republican could win in the district. If he loses, he intends to challenge Larsen again in two years.

"Now I've got a name," Hazelo said. "Now people know who I am. I think there's nowhere but up to go from here."

— Reporter Kera Wanielista: 360-416-2141, kwanielista@skagitpublishing.com, Twitter: @Kera_SVH, facebook.com/KeraReports

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