Mark Mullet maintains state Senate lead over Brad Toft

November 7, 2012

By Warren Kagarise

NEW — 6:50 p.m. Nov. 7, 2012

Issaquah Democrat Mark Mullet maintained a lead of more than 3,000 votes over Snoqualmie Republican Brad Toft in the latest round of results, as the candidates awaited resolution in the 5th Legislative District state Senate race.

Mullet held about 54 percent — or 23,216 votes — to Toft’s 46 percent — or 19,909 votes — among more than 43,000 ballots counted in the race so far.

The total released at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday added 4,012 ballots to the 39,174 ballots tallied in the race on Election Day.

Mullet, owner of Zeeks Pizza in the Issaquah Highlands and a city councilman, declared victory during a party at the restaurant, moments after the initial results landed Tuesday.

Toft did not concede the race, and in a Facebook post to supporters Wednesday morning, said uncounted ballots could change the outcome.

Mark Mullet

Brad Toft

The seat opened after then-state Sen. Cheryl Pflug suddenly withdrew from the campaign in May, and Gov. Chris Gregoire appointed the Maple Valley Republican to a state post. Pflug later resigned from the Senate and endorsed Mullet.

The district is a combination of suburban and rural areas stretched from Issaquah to Snoqualmie Pass, and from Carnation to Black Diamond.

Education ranked as a top issue among voters across the district, but bare-knuckled campaign tactics from both sides came to define the race.

The last Democrat elected to represent the district in Olympia, Kathleen Drew, won election in 1992. (Drew is now a candidate for secretary of state.)

Before Pflug, Sammamish Republican Dino Rossi represented the district after defeating Drew.

In July, King County Council members appointed Rossi to the seat in a caretaker role until Mullet or Toft is elected.

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