State Rep. Sawyer, accused of inappropriate conduct, gains votes in updated primary returns

OLYMPIA, Wash. — A Washington state representative who resigned his chairmanship following allegations of inappropriate conduct was still finishing in third place in updated primary returns Wednesday, but was closing in on the second spot.

Democratic Rep. David Sawyer on Wednesday was just 77 votes behind Republican Terry Harder. Democrat Melanie Morgan, a local school board member, had captured a majority of the votes from Tuesday's primary election.

Under Washington's primary system, the top two vote getters advance to November, regardless of party.

In June, Sawyer resigned as the chairman of the state House Commerce and Gaming Committee a day after an outside investigation that he violated the chamber's policies on harassment, decorum and ethics.

The investigation found Sawyer sent a House employee multiple "inappropriate and offensive" text messages over a period of three months. It also found he made comments and jokes about another House employee's sexual orientation, and used employees' time to discuss a newspaper's investigation into sexual harassment allegations against him.

Sawyer represents a district that includes parts of Tacoma.