SEATTLE, WA (KPLU) – Seattle’s next mayor will be Mike McGinn. He declared victory over opponent Joe Mallahan after the latest vote totals were released Monday afternoon. Mallahan conceded after the vote count update was released. KPLU’s Liam Moriarty has been covering the race, and spoke with Morning Edition host Kirsten Kendrick about McGinn’s triumph.
SEATTLE, WA (KPLU) – Former TV Anchor Susan Hutchison conceded late Wednesday after the second batch of polling results in the race for King County Executive. Councilman Dow Constantine won with a spread of nearly 14 percent. The day after his big victory, Constantine was getting ready to announce a transition team and get right to work.
The West Seattle native might have had four hours sleep on election night. But he’s not worried about that right now — he’s excited about the new job. Because of Ron Sims’ resignation, the new executive will take up office as soon as the election results are certified, this year on November 24th.
“So everything’s on a very compressed timeline,” he said in a one-on-one interview with KPLU in Seattle. “And while we’re working on flood prevention, while we’re working on protecting people from flu, and getting this budget balanced, I have to put an entire government in place – in 3 weeks.”
Constantine insists he’s up to the challenge. He’s been working two jobs already – running an election campaign on top of his normal duties as Council President. He said he’ll announce a transition team on Thursday, that is ”drawn from across the county, across the political spectrum, diverse in every way. People who are innovative, experienced, able to truly add value as we put together a new administration.”
Late Wednesday, Constantine announced the co-chairs of his transition team: State Sen. Fred Jarrett and affordable housing agency director Hyeok Kim. According to the Seattle Times, he said Seattle Deputy Mayor Tim Ceis, campaign consultant Christian Sinderman and members of Constantine’s council staff will be part of the team as well.
OLYMPIA, WA (N3) – Washington voters have soundly defeated anti-tax initiative promoter Tim Eyman’s latest ballot measure. Initiative 1033 (ten thirty-three) would have limited state and local government revenue growth to inflation plus population growth. 55 percent voted no to 45 percent in favor. Correspondent Tom Banse has more.
In the midst of a recession, the promise of lower property taxes had allure according to initiative sponsor Tim Eyman. But that same recession also forced cutbacks to government services. The president of Washington’s biggest teachers union, Mary Lindquist, says many voters didn’t want to slash more.
“In tough times, what is the first thing a parent does?” Lindquist said. “They try to protect their children. I think our society is the same way. In tough times, they want to make sure their students get a quality education.”
Large contributions by labor unions helped the opposition campaign outspend the initiative’s promoters by better than five to one. Sponsor Tim Eyman says even when he loses, his measures exert a moderating influence on government spending. He says he has another initiative pertaining to taxes in the works for next year.
Professional initiative promoter Tim Eyman was surrounded by supporters in Bellevue on Election Night.
SEATTLE, WA (KPLU) – Gays and lesbians celebrated in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood as Referendum-71 appears headed for approval. The measure has a small but apparently solid lead, 51% to 49%. It would expand the state’s domestic partnership law.
State Rep. Jamie Pederson (D), who sponsored the measure in the legislature, joined supporters in Seattle. He says passing the referendum is about fighting on behalf of gay and lesbian couples and families. He and his partner Eric have four young boys.
If the “everything but marriage” law holds on to its lead, more than 200 rights and benefits will be granted to non-married couples. Pederson says its passage would signal the state of Washington embraces diversity. But he adds, full equality for gays and lesbians would include the right to marry.
Voters in King County are approving the referendum by a two-to-one margin. It’s also passing in ten other counties, all of them in the Puget Sound region, but losing by wide margins in eastern Washington and several western counties.
If the vote holds up, it would be the first time anywhere in America that a state-wide vote has supported expanding gay rights, according to the Seattle Times.
Charlene Strong, right, plants a kiss on the cheek of Pete-e Petersen after the two were introduced at an Election Night party for supporters of Ref. 71 on Tuesday in Seattle.
SEATTLE, WA (KPLU) – In the contentious race for King County Executive, voters gave Dow Constantine a solid 14 point lead over former TV news anchor Susan Hutchison. It was enough for the King County councilman to declare victory.
This was the big party of the night. Hundreds crammed into a ballroom at Seattle’s Edgewater Hotel in hopes they’d hear these words from their candidate.
“Thank you to the voters of King County. This is an overwhelming victory tonight, and I’m truly touched at the support we’ve received.”
Most surprising, Constantine says, is the size of his lead, after a hard-fought battle many thought would be much closer. Still, he says he’s heard Hutchison’s supporters loud and clear, and he asked them to give him a chance.
“I share your concerns about making sure we have an efficient government, and that we have a robust economic recovery. I have made it clear that I am bringing that reform to King County. You watch us, we’re gonna do it.”
Hutchison was not ready to concede the race Tuesday night. At the Bellevue Hyatt where she held her election night party, the first-time candidate says there are still too many votes to count before official victory or defeat can be declared.
Constantine says the bulk of his support with voters came from his stand on environmental and transportation issues, and from his experience in government. It’s that experience that could get an early test with the high-risk of flooding along the Green River. Gary Davis, KPLU News, Seattle.
Dow Constantine, front runner for King County Executive, speaks to supporters on election night at the Edgewater Hotel in Seattle.
OLYMPIA, WA (N3) – Washington State’s top elections official is standing by his earlier prediction of 51 percent voter turnout statewide Tuesday. Vote-by-mail ballots are trickling in to county offices rather slowly. KPLU’s Tom Banse reports.
Ballots must be postmarked by today or dropped in designated boxes.
Washington Secretary of State Sam Reed projects turnout on par with the average for an off year election. Reed says Washington counties have almost completely switched over to voting exclusively by mail. The only holdout is Pierce County. Reed says more and more voters are holding on to their ballots until the last minute.
Sam Reed: “Clearly what is happening is that they’ve mailed them in earlier in the past and then changed their mind. So they are waiting to see what breaks at the end in these races and for these ballot issues.”
That means large numbers of ballots might not be processed in time to be counted immediately. In Washington State, vote by mail ballots have to be postmarked, but not necessarily delivered, by Election Day. Reed says he would hesitate to declare a winner on election night unless the margin of victory is greater than five percent. I’m Tom Banse in Olympia.