State Representative candidate in the 20th District, Peter Abbarno (R-Centralia) holds a strong lead over candidate Timothy Zahn (D-Toutle) after the first count of the votes on Tuesday evening in the Position 1 race.
In the 20th district, Abbarno is leading with 69.7 percent of the vote to Zahn’s 30 percent.
In Lewis County, Abbarno received 72.4 percent of the vote to Zahn’s 27.3 percent.
“I’m very pleased with the results, I’m very thankful to my family, friends, supporters and voters in the 20th district. I’m looking forward to putting in the hard work to represent the 20th district — this is going to be a difficult time with the budget issues and recovering from COVID-19 and the stay-at-home orders,” said Abbarno on Tuesday night. “It’s going to be a lot of hard work but I’m looking forward to rolling up my sleeves and getting to work in this upcoming session.”
The Committee to Elect Peter Abbarno held an “Election Night Victory Party” at Chehalis restaurant — Jeremy’s Farm to Table. Four televisions were tuned in to national Election Night coverage as about 50 Abbarno supporters of all ages mingled in the back room of the restaurant awaiting the election results. The room erupted into applause and cheers when the results were announced as supporters patted Abbarno on the back.
Rep. Richard DeBolt, who currently holds the position 1 seat and announced his retirement earlier this year, was in attendance. He said he was happy to see his seat go to Abbarno.
“I think he’ll do a wonderful job. He’s been working for so long in local politics, it’s nice to have someone that knows what’s going on in our community, knows what’s important to us and knows about flooding,” said DeBolt.
Fred Rider, chair of the Lewis County Republicans and treasurer of the Committee to Elect Peter Abbarno, said Abbarno is going to be a great asset to the state and Lewis County.
“In some ways, Peter is actually going to be better than Richard because Richard gets bulldozed once in while and Peter is a negotiator,” he said.
When it comes to the statewide and national elections, Rider said he was liking the looks of the Lewis County results best, saying he wished gubernatorial candidate Loren Culp did better.
During the primary election in August, Abbarno led with 53 percent of the vote in Lewis County and 47 percent of the vote statewide. The other primary candidates included Timothy Zahn, receiving 24 percent (26 percent, district-wide), Brian Lange with 20 percent and Kurtis Engle with 3 percent of the votes in Lewis County.
Abbarno, 45, has lived in Centralia since 2010 and is a small business owner and attorney at Althauser Rayan Abbarno LLP. He currently serves as Mayor pro-tem of the city of Centralia. He said that his biggest goal in general for the 20th District is to improve the quality of life through economic development and by providing opportunities to students and families.
A few of Abbarno’s top priorities for the coming years in the 20th district include economic recovery from the effects of COVID-19, combating poverty and homelessness and further investing in early education, he said.
Zahn, 26, grew up in Southwest Washington working on local farms during the summers. He recently graduated from Central Washington University with a degree in Information Technology and Administrative Management.
He noted one of his main priorities as identifying new sources of revenue in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, one of which would be placing a wealth tax on people who have more than $100 million in assets.
Zahn said he would like to see a change in the way the economy in the 20th district operates. He referenced the towns of Ashford and Leavenworth, saying the 20th district could increase revenue by attracting more students and more tourists.
Zahn could not immediately be reached for comment.
The general election results will be certified on Nov. 24.