Election breakdown shows key to lopsided City Council victories

December 8, 2009

By Warren Kagarise

City Council candidates clinched victory last month by vacuuming up votes in opponents’ strongholds, King County Elections data shows.

Although voters cast ballots in four council races in the Nov. 3 election, only two races were contested. Challenger Joan Probala faced Council President Maureen McCarry for the Position 5 seat, while the showdown for Position 7 attracted newcomers Nathan Perea and Tola Marts.

Probala, a South Cove real estate agent, talked up her efforts to annex the area into Issaquah during the council race. But the neighborhoods failed to provide a stronghold for her. The candidate won a pair of South Cove precincts; McCarry picked up the other three precincts in the area. In fact, McCarry bested Probala in 28 of the 30 city precincts.

Incumbent McCarry outpaced Probala, 68.47 percent to 31.21 percent — or 4,634 votes for McCarry to 2,112 for Probala.

Marts and McCarry won the precincts on Squak Mountain — where the candidates reside — by decisive margins.

Marts also posted a strong showing in the Issaquah Highlands, home to opponent Perea. Although Perea captured the five highlands precincts, Marts pulled within a handful of votes in three of them. Citywide, Marts outlasted Perea, 60.42 percent to 39.21 percent — or 4,014 votes for Marts and 2,605 for Perea.

After results were released Election Day, Marts and McCarry credited issue-oriented campaigns for the success, despite being outspent. Candidates knocked on thousands of voters’ doors and deployed hundreds of roadside campaign signs in the race to Election Day.

City voters also elected incumbent Councilwoman Eileen Barber, council newcomer Mark Mullet and Mayor Ava Frisinger in unopposed races.

The county Canvassing Board met Nov. 24 to certify the election results, the final step in the first all-mail general election organized by King County Elections.

Issaquah proved to be a battleground in the county executive race, as candidates pushed for Eastside votes in the weeks leading to the ballot-mailing deadline.

The victor, former County Councilman Dow Constantine, and challenger Susan Hutchison, a former television newscaster, split the Issaquah precincts. In most of the city precincts, however, distance between the candidates was close.

In the Aug. 18 primary, Hutchison and then-candidate Fred Jarrett took the Issaquah precincts. Constantine, a West Seattle native, won most of the county seat. Jarrett represents part of Issaquah in the state Senate.

Constantine later appointed Jarrett as deputy county executive, the No. 2 spot in King County government. Jarrett will resign from the Senate, and the County Council will pick a new senator in the weeks ahead.

Warren Kagarise: 392-6434, ext. 234, or wkagarise@isspress.com. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com.

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