The incumbent Bellevue City Council members have strong leads, in the first release of general election results from the King County Elections office, though the race between Aaron Laing and John Stokes for Councilman Grant Degginger's seat remains neck-and-neck.
With less than 30 percent of registered voters counted, incumbents John Chelminiak and Claudia Balducci have commanding leads of over 60 percent of the vote. Councilwoman Jennifer Robertson was unopposed.
In the race for council position 1, fewer than 150 votes separated Laing and Stokes, and Stokes held a slight lead over Laing.
Stokes said he was hopeful about the coming returns, which will be counted in the coming days as the county receives ballots turned in Tuesday night and ballots that were mailed.
The seven-member Bellevue City Council in the past few years have , with seats of the three councilmemebers most supportive of Sound Transit's plan all on the ballot this year. City councilman Grant Degginger opted not to run for reelection.
Chelminiak said Tuesday night that while East Link was not the only factor in the election, it has been a major one on the council for the past few years, and the results showed that Bellevue residents largely supported the efforts to bring light rail to the Eastside.
"There was a focus in this campaign on what was going on with the future of this city," Chelminiak said. "There is overwhelming support for what is going on in the city and for moving forward with light rail."
Balducci and Chelminiak outraised their challengers in campaign donations, and Robertson began
was spent in the Bellevue City Council race against Stokes and Balducci, all of it backed by a group that is funded by the Eastside Leadership Committee, a group mainly funded by Eastside developers Robert Wallace and George Rowley and a company owned by Bellevue Collection developer Kemper Freeman.
Stokes said that the negative campaigning affected how people perceived the race.
"It turned the race into a Kemper vs. John Stokes, instead of Aaron Laing vs. John Stokes," Stokes said.
Still, he said that the results of the election should send a message to the city council from the voters.
"I think that they want the council to work with Sound Transit, to stop playing behind the scenes politics about this," he said.
Council Position No. 1
45 0.28% Council Position No. 3
37 0.23% Council Position No. 5
38 0.24% Council Position No. 7