Though King County Elections was expecting a 48 percent turnout this year, it's looking like there will be lower voter turnout than they anticipated—here's how some of the most important local races turned out. Some were more competitive than expected, while others were...well, less competitive than we thought.
King County Sheriff's Race
Tuesday night surprisingly showed incumbent King County Sheriff John Urquhart trailing his challenger, veteran sheriff's deputy Mitzi Johanknecht, by a narrow 3.7 percentage points. Well, Johanknecht extended her lead with every new ballot count—and by Thursday's returns, she secured that upset win.
Johanknecht now has over 54 percent of the votes and an 8.3 percentage point lead. Urquhart's campaign had been fraught with controversy—sexual assault allegations, Urquhart's reported threat to release his accuser's medical records, his treatment surrounding the county settlement, and accusations from Johanknecht that he mistreated employees. He lost endorsements from several officials and groups less than a week before the November 7 general election.
The high-profile race between former U.S. attorney Jenny Durkan and urban planner Cary Moon left many wondering whether younger voters would turn out to vote—and if they did, it could leave Moon at least with a smaller gap to close.
Turnout so far is lower than King County Elections is expecting, and Moon at times slipped in her standing with urbanist voters. Labeling Durkan as the "establishment" candidate was also in some ways a tough sell, as the first openly gay U.S. attorney appointed by Barack Obama. We called the race within the first night. Durkan so far has 59.7 percent of the votes and nearly 20 percentage points ahead of Moon.
City Attorney's Race
City attorney Pete Holmes easily won reelection—so far with 73.7 percent of the votes—over his opponent, former Ed Murray public safety adviser Scott Lindsay.
Holmes this year lost key endorsements from Community Police Commission members, including Reverend Harriett Walden and LEAD co-founder Lisa Daugaard, who jumped ship to endorse Lindsay. But he still had the majority of Seattle city council members' endorsements and a background being at the forefront of progressive causes (like advocating for legalizing marijuana and co-founding LEAD), while Lindsay's involvement with encampment sweeps left many progressive voters unsure or distrustful of him at the city attorney's office.
King County voters for the third time approved a property tax to fund human services for vulnerable populations—that broadly includes veterans, seniors, the homeless, domestic violence survivors, immigrants and refugees, and people with disabilities. With 31.6 percent of the county's ballots in, 67.2 percent of voters approved the tax, showing that at least when it comes to human services, there's little to no tax fatigue.
The 45th District State Senate
Democrat and King County senior deputy prosecutor Manka Dhingra became the next state senator for the 45th District and flipped the state Senate blue. Not much changed after day three of ballot returns—she's still ahead by more than 10 percentage points over Republican businesswoman and former Cathy McMorris Rodgers aide Jinyoung Lee Englund. The race to determine party control in Olympia drew millions of dollars from both parties—$2.5 million in independent expenditures spent in negative ads against Dhingra, $1.8 million against Englund.
Seattle City Council
Both at-large city council races turned out in a landslide vote for the Latina candidate, making six out of nine of the council members women (four women of color) and a majority people of color.
Labor leader Teresa Mosqueda widened her lead over ex-Tenants Union leader Jon Grant and now has 61.2 percent of the votes for the open at-large city council position 8 seat. And incumbent Lorena Gonzalez? She has 69 percent over Pat Murakami.
Updated November 9, 2017, at 5:54pm to reflect more ballot returns.