In the early returns for what proved to be a bitter King County Council District 6 fight, incumbent Jane Hague leads with nearly 54 percent of the vote late Tuesday. Challenger Richard Mitchell held 46 percent in initial returns.
Hague was shocked and pleased by the large lead. “Whoaaaaaa!” she said after the results were posted, according to the Seattle Times. “I would have been happy with 51 percent.”
Hague, a Bellevue Republican, has served on the council since 1994. Her district includes Bellevue, Mercer Island, Redmond and Kirkland. Mitchell, a Mercer Island defense attorney, is a political newcomer.
Though Hague is a Republican, the King County Council recently was converted to nonpartisan seats by voters. Hague's victory celebration at the Juanita Pub also brought supporters from different sides of the political spectrum, including former Kirkland mayor and current State Rep. Larry Springer.
"I am proud as a Democrat, as is my wife, to support Jane Hague, who used to be a Republican," Springer told Hague's supporters, to laughs.
"We reject the notion that it matters what letter you have behind your name when you're serving at the local level," he said.
Kirkland Mayor Joan McBride also joined the celebrations after the results were announced and thanked Hague for her work on Eastside issues.
"Kirkland will be well represented in the coming years," she said.
The campaigns turned out to be contentious. Though neither Hague nor Mitchell have any official negative campaign accounting listed by the Washington State Public Disclosure Commission, both have lobbied official and unofficial complaints at each other regarding attack ads.
that made it appear that initiative author Tim Eyman encouraged Republicans to sit out the Hague-Mitchell race. Mitchell countered with a PDC complaint, saying that expenditures for an ad that attacked his record as an attorney was not reported to the PDC in a timely manner.
Mitchell's campaign tactics cost him an endorsement from the Seattle Times, which switched its endorsement to Jane Hague in the general election after supporting Richard Mitchell in the primary because his ads "were nasty to the point of being offensive."
This story will be updated.
•Metropolitan King County Council District No. 6
Jane Hague 15,878, 53.80 percent
Richard E. Mitchell 13,551, 45.92 percent
Write-in 84, 0.28 percent
-- Additional reporting by Venice Buhain