At first glance, Washington’s Second Congressional District might seem like an unlikely target for Republicans. After all, the Pacific Northwest is not often considered friendly territory and incumbent Democrat Rick Larsen has cruised to re-election the last several cycles. Though Larsen has held this seat for ten years, the Second District is actually a classic swing district that nearly went Republican in the 2004 presidential election. And don’t forget that Washington saw one of the most drastic swings in the country during the 1994 Republican wave, when voters ousted Democrat House Speaker Tom Foley.
Republican Congressman Jack Metcalf held the Second District seat for three terms before retiring in 2000, when Larsen won an extremely competitive open seat race over Republican State Representative and dairy farmer John Koster. Now, after winning a seat on the Snohomish County Council, Koster is back and running a remarkably strong campaign against a Democrat who hasn’t had to defend his record to voters in several years.
Unlike the former lobbyist Larsen, Koster has real-world experience running a business. He grew up working on his family’s dairy farm in northern Snohomish County and eventually took it over himself, owning and operating the business for 23 years. Koster expresses a firm belief in the American Dream and has carried an appreciation for hard work with him throughout his career.
Koster pivoted from the dairy farm business into politics when he ran and served for three terms in the Washington State House of Representatives. He earned a reputation as a fiscal watchdog and founded the Conservative Caucus, a group of legislators dedicated to growing the economy through lowering taxes and cutting spending. After his time in the State House, Koster returned to public service with his election to the Snohomish County Council, which he chaired in 2004. Koster is currently the only Republican holding a seat on the Council.