Up by more than 33,000 votes, Democrat Peter Goldmark has declared victory over Commissioner of Public Lands Doug Sutherland.
Sutherland, a Republican, trails Goldmark 49.2 percent to 50.8 percent.
“I am humbled by the opportunity to serve in this important role and look forward to the opportunities that lie ahead,” said Goldmark, an Okanogan County rancher and former Washington State University regent.
Goldmark said he’s committed “to protecting the job base in our forests, expanding opportunities for renewable energy investment, and securing public access and recreational opportunity.” The state Commissioner of Public Lands is responsible for overseeing millions of acres of state forest, tidelands, lake beds and rangeland, and overseeing forest practices on millions of acres more of private timberland.
“My goal is sustainable management of public resources, transparency in management, and reliance on science and law in decision-making,” he said.
Goldmark, who briefly headed the state Department of Agriculture under former Gov. Mike Lowry, ran for congress unsuccessfully two years ago against U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers.
Sutherland told The Associated Press that’s not yet conceding the race.
“There’s a lot of counties where we have pretty strong support that have to be counted,” he said. An AP analysis indicates that there aren’t enough votes in those counties for Sutherland to win.