Brad Toft: State Senate race is too close to call, despite Mark Mullet’s lead

November 8, 2012

NEW — 12:10 p.m. Nov. 8, 2012

The contest for the 5th Legislative District state Senate seat is too close to call, Snoqualmie Republican Brad Toft said Thursday, despite a 3,307-vote lead for Issaquah Democrat Mark Mullet.

The race attracted attention in recent weeks for the insults the candidates lobbed at one another and, for a time, observers said the match-up could determine state Senate control. However, Republicans did not gain enough seats on Election Day to crack the Democrats’ majority in the chamber.

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.

King County Elections is scheduled to release additional results at 4:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. Thursday.

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Mark Mullet maintains state Senate lead over Brad Toft

November 7, 2012

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.

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King County prepares to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, as supporters claim victory

November 7, 2012

NEW — 3:30 p.m. Nov. 7, 2012

King County Executive Dow Constantine is prepared to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, as Referendum 74 supporters claimed victory in the campaign to legalize same-sex marriage in Washington.

Dow Constantine

But not so fast, came the response from opponents. R-74 challengers said uncounted ballots from outside left-leaning King County could spell defeat for the measure.

In the initial results released Tuesday, R-74 led in the tally  52 percent to 48 percent, among more than 1.9 million ballots statewide. The measure relied on deep support in King County; R-74 garnered support from 65 percent of local voters.

Constantine, a longtime same-sex marriage supporter, hailed the milestone hours after the organization behind the campaign to approve R-74, Washington United for Marriage, claimed victory.

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Ex-Issaquah legislator is locked in tight race for secretary of state

November 7, 2012

NEW — 11:55 a.m. Nov. 7, 2012

Democrat Kathleen Drew, a former Issaquah state senator, is locked in a close race for secretary of state against Thurston County Auditor Kim Wyman, a Republican.

The contest to choose a successor to Republican Secretary of State Sam Reed is split 50.39 percent for Wyman against 49.61 percent for Drew in the initial results released Tuesday.

The secretary of state serves as the top elections official in Washington. The office also handles registrations for corporations and charities.

Reed plans to retire after a dozen years in the post. In 2004, he led the office through the contest between Gregoire and Dino Rossi — the closest gubernatorial race in U.S. history.

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Democrat Mark Mullet claims lead in state Senate bout

November 6, 2012

Mark Mullet embraces wife Sabath at Zeeks Pizza on election night moments after initial results give him a lead in the race against Brad Toft for the 5th Legislative District’s state Senate seat. By Greg Farrar

UPDATED — 9:25 p.m. Nov. 6, 2012

The unexpectedly ugly race to represent Issaquah in the state Senate neared a coda Tuesday as Democrat Mark Mullet claimed a lead in initial results.

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Sammamish couple celebrates Referendum 74 lead

November 6, 2012

NEW — 10 p.m. Nov. 6, 2012

The early lead for Referendum 74, a statewide ballot measure to legalize same-sex marriage in Washington, elicited what Dana Alixander called a “collective thank you” for supporters.

Dana and longtime partner Sage Alixander hailed the solid lead for the measure. Both Sammamish residents campaigned hard for voters to approve R-74.

The measure garnered strong support in King County, and leads, 52 percent to 48 percent, in initial statewide results.

Dana Alixander described the wait as a “collective holding our breath” before the initial results arrived just after 8 p.m.

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Tiger Mountain is test for commissioner of public lands candidates

October 30, 2012

Tiger Mountain is a destination for hikers, mountain bikers and loggers, and the official responsible for acting as a referee to balance the competing interests is the state commissioner of public lands.

Clint Didier

Peter Goldmark

Republican Clint Didier is challenging the incumbent, Democrat Peter Goldmark, to serve as the top natural resources official in Washington.

The commissioner of public lands leads the state Department of Natural Resources, and oversees about 3 million acres of forests, agricultural land and other properties, as well as about 2.6 million acres of shorelines, tidelands, lakes and rivers.

The position carries outsized influence in the Issaquah area. The agency is often a factor in local policymaking, due to the connections among the Department of Natural Resources, Issaquah City Hall and outdoor recreation groups.

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Gubernatorial hopefuls support hatcheries, parks

October 23, 2012

Democrat Jay Inslee and Republican Rob McKenna clashed in a recent series of debates, but the candidates vying to serve as Washington’s next governor share similar positions on local issues, such as support for the state parks system.

Jay Inslee

Rob McKenna

The race at the state level is focused on the candidates’ policies on education and transportation — hot topics on the docket as Inslee and McKenna met in recent weeks.

The Issaquah Press asked the candidates about funding for state parks, salmon restoration and growth management — key concerns in Issaquah and the surrounding area.

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Change in geography alters landscape for congressional race

October 23, 2012

Karen Porterfield

Dave Reichert

The showdown in the 8th Congressional District is far different from the most recent contests for the seat.

Incumbent Republican Dave Reichert held on amid spirited challenges from Democrats in 2006, 2008 and 2010. Redistricting last year reshaped the landscape for the district, and the 2012 race is not attracting the same kind of attention — or money — as the earlier battles.

Reichert’s opponent is Issaquah Democrat Karen Porterfield, a nonprofit professional and adjunct instructor at Seattle University.

Porterfield grew up in Seattle, in a family active in Democratic politics, and settled in Issaquah more than a decade ago. She said the expertise she gained in affordable housing development and in leadership roles at nonprofit organizations means she could offer a unique perspective in Congress.

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Legislative candidates focus on education at forum

October 23, 2012

Candidates staked moderate positions and touted the importance of education as the contenders for offices to represent Issaquah in Olympia gathered for a candidate forum Oct. 18.

Education emerged as the signature theme in the races to represent local constituents in the state Senate and state House of Representatives. Candidates also tackled issues related to taxation, transportation, land use and — as lawmakers prepare for more budget cuts next year — government spending.

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