Steve Litzow elected to represent Issaquah in state Senate
December 7, 2010
By Warren Kagarise
Republican defeated incumbent Randy Gordon for seat
The last undecided race to represent Issaquah in Olympia came to a close Dec. 3, more than a month after Election Day.
Republican Steve Litzow defeated appointed incumbent Randy Gordon to represent the 41st Legislative District in the state Senate. The district includes Talus and other Cougar Mountain communities in Issaquah, plus Mercer Island, Newcastle and rural King County.
Democrat Gordon trailed Litzow by more than 1,000 votes in the days after the Nov. 2 election. The gap between the candidates slimmed to 194 votes — or 0.32 percent — as the county tallied ballots. Litzow clinched the seat by 192 votes after the recount.
Under state law, a machine recount is required if the difference between the candidates is less than 2,000 votes and also less than one-half of 1 percent of the total number of votes cast for both candidates. King County Elections tallied 63,361 ballots in the race.
The elections office completed the mandatory recount for the contest Dec. 1 and King County Canvassing Board members certified the recount results Dec. 3.
“This wraps up the year with another very successful election,” King County Elections Director Sherril Huff said. “King County conducted four elections this year, concluding each one with zero discrepancies while experiencing record vote-by-mail turnouts.”
King County Council members appointed Gordon to the seat in January after then-Sen. Fred Jarrett resigned to serve as deputy county executive.
Litzow joined the Senate on Dec. 6 — more than a month before other new legislators. Litzow was sworn in early because he fills Gordon’s appointed position. Litzow and Gordon tussled to fill Jarrett’s unexpired term.
“I am honored to represent the citizens of the 41st District,” Litzow said in a statement. “My goal to is to help get state government back on track and fiscally sound, while protecting our most vulnerable citizens, making K-12 education a priority and solving our transportation problems.”
Litzow is due to face the electorate again in 2012.
In the meantime, Litzow could put a more moderate imprimatur on the Senate GOP caucus. The suburban Republican and former Procter & Gamble executive serves on the political-action board committee board of abortion rights group NARAL Pro-Choice Washington.
Jarrett left the Republicans for the Democrats in 2007 and the GOP has not represented the 41st District in the Senate since then.
Though political observers said the 41st District seat could prove to be essential to a GOP Senate takeover, Democrats retained slimmer majorities in both the upper chamber and the state House of Representatives.
The split in the Senate shrank from 31 Democrats and 18 Republicans in the last session to 27 Democrats and 22 Republicans in the next. The margin in the House changed from 61 Democrats and 37 Republicans to a 56-42 split.
Democrats — Reps. Marcie Maxwell and Judy Clibborn — hold the House seats in the 41st District delegation. Litzow ran against Maxwell for a House seat in the 2008 election, but lost the close race by 748 votes.
Warren Kagarise: 392-6434, ext. 234, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com.