Koster and Metcalf

John Koster and Rhonda Metcalf are running against each other for a House seat in Legislative District 39.

Initial election results show Republican John Koster holding a strong lead over Democrat Ronda Metcalf for a House seat in Legislative District 39.

Koster was leading Metcalf by 16 percentage points as of Tuesday night.

Legislative District 39 covers eastern Skagit and Snohomish counties and part of eastern King County.

Koster could not be reached for comment Tuesday, but said in an earlier interview that the biggest issue facing the Legislature is funding education.

The Supreme Court has ordered the state Legislature to fully fund basic public education by 2018, a ruling that’s known as the McCleary decision.

“I don’t think anybody knows what the price tag is on that yet,” Koster said. “My fear with McCleary is this gets to be all about teacher pay and not how we provide better education for children.”

Koster, 64, previously held this position from 1995 to 2001.

An estimated 15,000 ballots remain to be counted, according to the Skagit County Auditor’s Office. The next count will be released Thursday.

— Reporter Aaron Weinberg: 360-416-2145, aweinberg@skagitpublishing.com, Facebook.com/byaaronweinberg

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