Brad Toft concedes state Senate race to Mark Mullet

November 9, 2012

By Warren Kagarise

NEW — 10:05 a.m. Nov. 9, 2012

Less than 24 hours after urging supporters to wait for more election results, Snoqualmie Republican Brad Toft conceded a hard-fought state Senate race to Issaquah City Councilman Mark Mullet early Friday.

Toft could not overcome the lead Mullet, a Democrat, posted on election night, and then continued to maintain as subsequent results arrived. In the most recent results released Thursday by King County Elections, Toft trailed Mullet, 54 percent to 46 percent, out of 50,681 ballots tallied.

“There’s a disappointment in what happened, but the cause goes on,” Toft said in a message to campaign supporters Friday.

Mullet declared victory after the initial election results landed Tuesday, and then disputed Toft’s assertions about a possible turnaround in subsequent days.

In a message to supporters and journalists Thursday, Toft’s campaign reiterated the candidate’s intention to wait for more election results. But Mullet’s lead held as the elections office counted more ballots.

“We worked in this campaign with our own hands, with the belief that political parties and government should serve the people, rather than manage them,” Toft said in the Friday message to supporters. “We made promises and defined them, because we believe that from those commitments come scrutiny and support; and both are necessary in our form of government.”

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.)

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

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 actions opened a rift between Pflug and other Republicans.

In July, King County Council members appointed Sammamish Republican Dino Rossi — former state senator for the district, in addition to a former candidate for governor and U.S. Senate — to the seat in a caretaker role until Mullet takes office in January.

Mullet’s victory sets up a vacancy on the Issaquah City Council. The council is expected to develop a timeline and process to fill the seat after Mullet resigns.

Candidates for council vacancies must be at least 18, a register voter and a resident of Issaquah for at least a year prior to appointment.

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