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Koster concedes defeat to Larsen in 2nd District race

ARLINGTON — The Congressional race that pitted two Arlington natives against each other officially came to a close Nov. 10, when Snohomish County Council member John Koster conceded defeat to U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen in their contest for Washington's 2nd District seat.

Although Democratic incumbent Larsen initially trailed Republican challenger Koster in the early returns on election night Nov. 2, the following day saw him overtake his opponent.

As of 6 p.m. on Nov. 10, Larsen had received 149,246 counted votes, or 51.05 percent of the counted vote, while Koster had received 143,120 counted votes, or 48.95 percent of the counted vote, with 98 percent of the expected total votes counted.

Larsen declared victory on Nov. 8, but Koster didn't bow out until two days later, when he called Larsen on the morning of Nov. 10 to offer his congratulations.

In his victory statement issued Nov. 8, Larsen reiterated his assertion that his campaign was about the area economy.

"The recent jobs report shows the actions we took over the last two years are beginning to take hold," Larsen said. "Not only did October show job growth of 150,000 new jobs, previous months' jobs reports have been revised upward. We need to keep that momentum going."

Larsen once again pledged to land the Air Force tanker for Boeing to create local jobs. At the same time, he acknowledged the shift in the political landscape on the national scale.

"One lesson of the Democratic party's loss is that Americans want bipartisanship," Larsen said. "The American people want the parties to work together. I have a history of bipartisanship, having worked to pass pipeline safety legislation in the minority, and the Wild Sky wilderness bill while in the majority, signed into law by then-President George Bush. I look forward to finding similar opportunities next year."

Koster's campaign manager, Larry Stickney, credited the Koster campaign with creating a close race in spite of what he deemed an "unprecedented get-out-the-vote effort" by Democrats, and echoed Koster's expressed view that their agenda was validated by the Republican gains in both houses of Congress across the country.

"Common sense voters in Washington's 2nd Congressional District must remain diligent and remind the Congressman during his new term that his narrow margin of victory is by no means a mandate for continuing the disastrous Obama agenda," Koster wrote in a statement circulated to friends and supporters Nov. 10. "It is undeniable that Rick Larsen did not campaign on the Pelosi/Obama agenda. In fact, he avoided discussing it to the maximum possible extent."

Koster complimented Larsen's stated call for bipartisanship, but blamed "the ultra-partisan politics that became the trademark of the outgoing Pelosi Congress" with impeding it, and urged voters to hold Larsen accountable to his promises of working in a bipartisan way within the new Congress.

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