The race between incumbent state Rep. Dave Hayes, R-Camano Island, and challenger Dave Paul was close for a state House seat in the 10th Legislative District when initial election results were released Tuesday.

As of 10 p.m., the vote was split nearly 50-50. Paul had received 232 more votes than Hayes.

In Skagit County specifically, Paul held 64 more votes than Hayes.

"We knew it was going to be a very close race," Paul said. "It's really hard to unseat an incumbent and we've worked really hard to try to show the difference between my opponent and myself."

The district includes Island County, southwest Skagit County and northwest Snohomish County. The state House seat has a two-year term.

Hayes was first elected to the position in 2013 to replace now state Sen. Barbara Bailey.

He said he was not surprised to see the initial results but expects to come out on top in the end as he did in 2013.

"I'm very optimistic," Hayes said. "The way the general elections have gone for us in the past, we typically get a Republican surge in the trailing days."

Hayes said if that happens again, he wants to focus on funding partnerships between law enforcement and social services in order to address the opioid epidemic.

"That is my No. 1 thing," he said. "Opioids are killing so many people and it is affecting communities across the state so negatively that has to become a priority in the Legislature."

Paul, a Democrat and first-time candidate from Oak Harbor, said he has many goals if elected.

He said he wants to represent the district's diverse residents, work to address behavioral health and affordable housing challenges, and would strive to protect the environment. 

— Reporter Kimberly Cauvel: 360-416-2199, kcauvel@skagitpublishing.com, Twitter: @Kimberly_SVH, Facebook.com/bykimberlycauvel

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