Our reporters and photographers fanned across the Seattle area Tuesday to talk to voters and candidates. This is what they heard and saw.
Editor’s note: This is the breaking account of Tuesday’s general election. Click here to view the full election results, which will be updated as new tallies come in. You can also see our full election coverage here.
- Jenny Durkan is Seattle’s next mayor.
- Democrat Manka Dhingra is leading Republican Jinyoung Lee Englund for the 45th District state Senate seat.
- In the race for King County sheriff, challenger Mitzi Johanknecht is leading Sheriff John Urquhart.
- A measure to raise taxes to fund services for King County veterans, the homeless and seniors easily passed.
- Dow Constantine won a third term as King County Executive.
- King County voters re-elected one Port of Seattle commissioner and gave a narrow lead to a second, while also adding a former Seattle politician to the board.
- In Bellevue, voters elected two incumbents and two newcomers for City Council seats.
- All incumbents are ahead in races for Snohomish County Council.
- State Sen. Phil Fortunato, R-Auburn, is well ahead of Democratic challenger Michelle Rylands in the 31st District Senate race.
- Zachary Pullin DeWolf won a spot on the Seattle School Board.
- M. Lorena González and Teresa Mosqueda won Seattle City Council seats.
- Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes cruised to re-election over challenger Scott Lindsay.
- Statewide, voters rejected three advisory measures on taxes.
Ballot counting will continue in coming days. For close races, elections officials may launch ballot recounts, either by hand or electronically.
Update, 9:40 p.m.:
In high spirits, Durkan addressed a ballroom full of supporters.
“We were flying this campaign as we were building it,” she said.
Durkan referred to Seattle’s last woman mayor, Bertha Landes, who was elected in 1926. “Ninety-two years later, Seattle is about to have a new woman mayor,” Durkan said. She noted the massive drill for the Highway 99 tunnel project named after Landes and joked, “Just imagine what they’re going to name after me.”
Update, 9:30 p.m.:
In Washington’s nationally watched state Senate race, Democrats look to be on the verge of completing their dominance of West Coast states.
Democrat Manka Dhingra grabbed 55.4 percent of the vote in Tuesday’s returns, to 44.6 percent for Republican Jinyoung Englund.
If that holds, Democrats will control state Legislatures and governor’s offices in California, Oregon and Washington, creating what they’ve dubbed a “blue wall” to resist the Republican-led Congress and President Donald Trump.
Here is how Gov. Jay Inslee reacted:
The prospect of the “blue wall” has drawn front-page attention from The New York Times and other national media.
The result sent a wave of jubilation through Dhingra’s election-night gathering in Woodinville.
“We become the last brick in the big blue wall up and down the West Coast,” said state Democratic Party Chair Tina Podlodowski.
In a suburban district where Trump has polled as extremely unpopular, Dhingra cast her election as a rebuke to divisive politics.
“These people started making this election about us vs. them. And I don’t have to tell you in this story, I was the them. This playbook is being executed all over our country right now,” she said. “When you see the politics of tribalism, misinformation and mistrust all around you; when you see the hate and the fear and the division walking around unafraid, it can be scary.”
She took a congratulatory call from former Vice President Joe Biden.
At the Englund gathering, the candidate thanked supporters and said they’d fought to preserve a divided government in Olympia to force compromise between Democrats and Republicans.
In an upbeat speech, Englund talked repeatedly about her admiration of the late state Sen. Andy Hill, whose death last year prompted the special election.
“Andy quietly exemplified that balance,” she said. “Until the end of his life he fought to protect it,” Englund said, “Our movement here, it is born of a conviction that we couldn’t let that creative bipartisan cooperation die with Andy.”
She did not concede, saying “we’ll wait to see what the results say in a few days.”
Englund added she was not surprised that so many voters waited to cast ballots until late, noting the $9 million or so spent in the Eastside legislative district that extends from Kirkland to Sammamish.
State GOP Chair Susan Hutchison rejected the Democrats talk of a blue wall, calling any result Tuesday “temporary.” With several swing districts at play in 2018, Hutchison said overreach by Inslee and Democrats would leave the door open to retake majorities.
Update, 8:10 p.m.:
First results are in.
Jenny Durkan is leading Cary Moon in the Seattle mayoral race with 60.6 percent of the vote.
Durkan’s election night headquarters is loud with cheers.
Meanwhile, the tone of Moon’s party is shifting.
Meanwhile, the room at Mitzi Johanknecht’s gathering bubbled with excitement as the candidate for King County Sheriff made the rounds, thanking supporters. A few people tried to watch Durkan’s speech on TV, but it was barely audible over the din of conversation.
A dejected but defiant Urquhart did not concede, saying there are lot of ballots to be counted.
“Never say die,” he said while acknowledging the results didn’t bode well for him.
Update, 8 p.m.:
With about a half hour until Election Day results come in, crowds of supporters at candidate parties are projecting confidence — even if their candidates are perceived as underdogs.
At mayor candidate Cary Moon’s gathering at Old Stove Brewing, the candidate arrived around 7:20 p.m. to a loud ovation and chants of “CAR-Y, CAR-Y, CAR-Y!”
When the cheering subsided, Moon blurted: “This is so fun!”
An excited Seattle City Councilman Mike O’Brien, sipping from a pint of pale ale, said the lack of leaked poll results during the campaign season bodes well for Moon.
“Frankly, with Durkan’s $2 million, she’s got to be polling,” O’Brien said. “But we haven’t really heard anything. Typically, if you have really good poll results, you leak it. So, my sense is, maybe Jenny is a little bit ahead, or it’s closer than anyone thinks. That gives Cary a shot, and that makes me excited.”
Asha Mohamed, who arrived to Durkan’s party at the Westin early, said she was motivated by two of her children, both college students, to support the former U.S. attorney.
Depressed by Donald Trump’s victory in the presidential election, they found hope in Durkan’s candidacy, said Mohamed, a Somali immigrant who works for All Home King County.
“She’s not a woman of color,” one daughter told her. “But she’s LGBTQ. She knows struggle.”
Durkan was the first openly gay U.S. attorney.
Also among the Durkan crowd was Jay Delaney, a 69-year-old retired physician. He said he didn’t like the sniping over finances that happened in the mayoral campaign.
In the race for King County Sheriff, supporters of challenger Mitzi Johanknecht gathered for a lively party in West Seattle. Johanknecht, a major with the department for 33 years, arrived to hugs, flowers and a growing crowd of about 50 supporters.
Johanknecht is trying to oust incumbent Sheriff John Urquhart, in a race that has featured big spending by both candidates.
Her campaign consultant, Cathy Allen, predicted an upset later in the week, even if Johanknecht starts out behind tonight.
“I’m prepared for it not to be our best night,” Allen said, noting that the returns reflect ballots mailed out weeks ago, before late developing news about her opponent, Sheriff John Urquhart, and late mailers that explained to voters who Johanknecht is and what she’s about.
“So long as we’re not 10 points behind, I think we’re looking at an upset,” she said.
Update: 7:22 p.m.
Kendall Hodson, chief of staff for the elections office, said countywide turnout could be closer to 43 percent. She said turnout may still hit 48 percent in places with hot races, including Seattle and the 45th Legislative District.
Hodson cautioned that much remains unclear as it looks like a higher-than-usual stack of ballots have come in through the county’s 55 dropboxes.
Vote totals will be released shortly after 8 p.m. Hodson said the county expects about 280,000 ballots to be counted tonight.
Update, 5:55 p.m.:
Our reporters and photojournalists are now heading to election parties across the Seattle area.
At Redhook Brewery in Woodinville, fans of Manka Dhingra are gathering. She is running against Republican Jinyoung Lee Englund in the Eastside’s 45th District Senate race.
Here is what one Dhingra supporter said:
The contest between Dhingra and Englund is by far the most expensive legislative race in Washington state history. Its outcome is expected to determine which party controls the state Senate.
Meanwhile, roughly 20 miles away in Seattle, parties for mayoral candidates Cary Moon and Jenny Durkan are starting.
At Moon’s event, supporter Norman Sigler explained why he shifted his support to Moon after initially backing candidate Nikkita Oliver in the Aug. 1 primary.
“I met Cary Moon 14 years ago, when I moved here. She was doing a fundraiser at a house party with some friends of mine with the People’s Waterfront Coalition,” Sigler said. “I thought, ‘Wow, I love this. People are engaged civically in this city … and that inspired me to run for mayor about five years later.”
Sigler, originally from Mobile, AL, did not make it out of the 2009 primary. But he never forgot that introduction to Seattle’s civic engagement, in part through Moon. She reached out to him before this year’s primary for support, he said, and when Oliver didn’t advance, Sigler threw his support behind Moon.
Durkan’s campaign is expecting about 200 people at her campaign’s event.
Update, 6:30 p.m.:
As we approach results time on the West Coast, elections across the country are wrapping up.
In Virginia, voters chose Democrat Ralph Northam over Republican Ed Gillespie for governor, an outcome national media are calling “a blow to Trump.”
“Virginia’s election has been closely watched nationwide as a test of President Donald Trump’s status and impact on the tenor of politics in every state,” the Washington Post said.
And in New Jersey, Democrat Phil Murphy topped Republican Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno to succeed Republican Gov. Chris Christie.
Both of those wins are good news for Washington Gov. Jay Inslee — who will become chair of the Democratic Governors Association (DGA) next month.
That role will put Inslee in a position to travel the country and rub shoulders with big shot political donors, possibly fueling more speculation about a run for president in 2020.
There are 36 governorships up for grabs in 2018.
For Inslee and the DGA, the wins on Tuesday still leave Republicans with a major advantage in state capitols.
Going into 2018, there will be 32 states with Republican governors.
—Material from the news wires contributed to this report.
Update, 6 p.m.:
Seattle mayoral candidate Cary Moon’s campaign is revising a Tuesday morning news release that suggested Moon would be happy if she had at least 39.5 percent of tonight’s vote.
That percentage would mean she would trail rival Jenny Durkan by 20 percentage points. That is a landslide victory. Reporters and others questioned the math.
This evening, Moon’s team said they had miscalculated. They said they meant Moon should be within 10 points of Durkan with the first count of votes.
They announced the revision in an email to media:
Past elections have shown fairly large swings in late Seattle vote counts toward the candidate perceived as more liberal or anti-establishment. That is thanks to the younger voters, who typically hang onto their ballots until the last day.
Based on past results, a 10 point election night deficit may be on the outside edge of what a candidate could overcome. But 20 points? That’d be a whole new story.
Update, 4:40 p.m.:
In just hours, preliminary results of the general election will stream in.
But first, here is a look back at the Aug. 1 primary, when 21 candidates were on the ballot for Seattle mayor. Durkan won nearly two-thirds of precincts.
This is how people voted by neighborhood:
Turnout in Seattle was the highest for an off-year primary in at least two decades, surpassing 40 percent. The average for the previous nine was under 32 percent.
Update, 4 p.m.:
It’s all about taxes for voter Janet Spindler.
“We’re overtaxed,” she said outside the Beacon Hill Library, where she had just dropped off her ballot.
Spindler, who is in her 60s, said she recently had to sell her small business, a brewery named Spinnaker Bay Brewing.
“Part of it is we cannot pay the taxes in the city of Seattle,” she said.
Meanwhile, cute houses are being razed in favor of ugly, boxy townhomes, she said.
Spindler said she favors politicians who work “hard to protect liveable Seattle,” like Pat Murakami, who is challenging incumbent M. Lorena González for a seat on Seattle’s City Council.
For Spindler, neither mayoral candidate fit the bill just right.
“The only reason I like her (Cary Moon) over Durkan is the corporate money,” she said.
After President Donald Trump’s election, Bridgette Fox, 31, said she reached out to politically-connected friends to help sharpen her political savvy. She’s finding her political voice, she said.
“Everyone’s been helping me, nurturing me,” she said.
Fox works at Oak, a Beacon Hill watering hole. She enjoys talking politics with regulars.
“I ask questions of everyone, because I’m still learning,” she said.
Fox said she’s concerned about homelessness and the rising price of housing — hot-button issues discussed by many on a Seattle bar stool.
Christopher Chen, a fiction writer from Belltown, doesn’t think the results of the mayor’s race will do anything to slow the city’s torrid growth.
“There’s too many special interests. I don’t see that changing regardless (of who wins),” he said. “I’m trying not to sound too cynical.”
—Seattle Times reporter Evan Bush
Update, 3:30 p.m.:
What happens if just hundreds of votes separate two candidates from winning or King County Proposition 1 from passing tonight?
Elections officials do ballot recounts, either by hand or electronically.
And there is a strict set of rules for when and how that happens.
As of Monday evening, voter turnout in King County was lagging behind election officials’ forecasts. They had estimated countywide turnout would hit 48 percent.
About 261,100 ballots had been returned — 20 percent of the county’s nearly 1.3 million registered voters.
Kendall Hodson, chief of staff for King County Elections, said a last-minute flood of votes — especially in new dropboxes positioned throughout the county — could boost the final totals.
Later batches of votes have tended to trend more liberal and young, leading to swings of as much as 8 percentage points after Election Day.
Update, 2:26 p.m.:
Ballard ballot drop box fills up; people line up down the block
The ballot drop box outside the Ballard Public Library completely filled up by Tuesday afternoon — forcing voters to line up down the block and wait for King County election officials to empty it.
Ballard resident David Sklenar, 63, said a “half-block-long line of voters were unable to cast their ballots.”
County workers showed up about 2 p.m. to empty the box. An election official said boxes do fill up from time to time and have to be emptied.
Update, 1:45 p.m.:
Housing, housing, housing: a major issue for Seattle voters
When compared to polarized national politics, Seattle’s mayoral candidates seem to offer mere slivers of differentiation. Both champion progressive ideals. Both are women. Both are not fans of President Donald Trump.
Both candidates seized on the vexing issues of homelessness and housing affordability in their campaigns, pitching their visions for the city’s growth and drawing some of the clearest distinctions in the campaign.
At the Beacon Hill Library ballot drop box, voters seemed to have noticed.
“I’ve lived here my entire life. I’m like, ‘What is happening to this city with homeless people?’ I’m sick and tired of seeing encampments and garbage all over the place,” said Linda Mar, a nurse.
Mar said she understood that homeless people needed medical treatment and services, but was dismayed to see so many camps all over.
“I support Durkan in the sense of not allowing them to camp wherever they want,” Mar said. “I don’t know where Moon or Durkan live, but do you drive by every day where you live and see these encampments? It bothers me.”
Chatham Curry, a bridge tender with the Washington state Department of Transportation, said he and his wife own a home, but rent it out and live with his mother-in-law to be able to afford child care.
The city “needs more diverse housing,” Curry said. “We need more row houses and backyard cottages.”
He said he hates to see people living in homelessness, and believes small, affordable housing could provide help.
Curry said he supports Democratic Socialists of America candidates and providing a social safety net for people.
He said neither mayoral candidate worried him, and that he felt lucky to live in Seattle, with its progressive values.
“If we can swing this city far left, maybe at least the city can survive the apocalypse in the rest of the country,” he said.
He said he was proud to support King County’s Proposition 1, a levy to maintain and increase services for veterans, seniors and vulnerable populations.
Maria Williams, of West Seattle, said that proposition is essential. Williams, who has lived in Seattle for about 10 years, works for an organization that helps domestic-violence survivors in King County.
“With the current climate of the world, the more funding we have to serve people, the more we can help the folks who need it,” she said.
Williams said parts of King County need more money to help with social services, and she was pleased to see taxpayers asked to contribute.
When Williams moved here, she said, Seattle was “marginally affordable.” Now, it’s not even that.
Williams said the nation has seemingly shifted away from the belief that people have a right to housing.
As it was in the movement for a $15 minimum wage, Williams believes Seattle could be a national leader on affordable housing.
“Who is elected will determine how we help people with housing or on the brink of homelessness,” she said.
In the primary, Williams supported Nikkita Oliver, she said. Her support has shifted to Cary Moon.
“Her plan regarding homelessness and housing — looking at a housing-first model with low-barrier shelters and services across the board — is something I definitely support,” Williams said.
She said she had hoped for more discussion of gentrification and racial disparities in housing during the mayoral campaign.
As West Seattle becomes more expensive, Williams said, housing prices have pushed people of color to move further south.
She hopes the next mayor will help to make Seattle a place where people of color “feel recognized, feel safe and be able to afford to live.”
Williams said she was pleased to see more women of color on the ballot, “which is necessary for Seattle to show who we are as a city.”
— Seattle Times reporter Evan Bush
Update, 1:11 p.m.:
Update, 11:15 a.m.:
Moon ‘up against the odds,’ expects to trail Durkan tonight
Seattle mayoral candidate Cary Moon expects to trail Jenny Durkan in vote counts Tuesday night, and then make up ground in the coming days, according to a news release from Moon’s campaign.
The release referenced our report from this morning on how later voters typically skew younger and more liberal.
“As today’s Seattle Times notes, election night counts are often dominated by older, more conservative voters and subsequent counts trend towards younger, more liberal voters. … We will be happy to see Moon at 39.5% or above tonight,” the campaign says.
Update, 11 a.m.:
Affordable housing and homelessness top of the mind among voters
Voter Dan Harrie, a software engineer who has lived in Seattle for about 10 years, described himself as “a little bit progressive, a bit Democrat and a tiny bit Republican.”
Interviewed downtown, Harrie said he was most concerned about homelessness and housing. He said he wants the city to find ways to put more people in housing. “And stop shuffling them around the city,” he said. “I do like seeing a lot of diversity in the candidates.”
Harrie is concerned about partisan politics at the national level. “Nobody is talking to who they disagree with,” he said. Harrie said he spent a lot of time researching the mayoral candidates and was conflicted. “It was a tough choice,” he said. “Ultimately, I went with Moon because of her city-planning background,” he said.
Voter Huiling Yang said she also struggled with her mayoral choice. “My candidate (Nikkita Oliver) didn’t make it to the primary for mayor … when I was casting my vote today I was not very hopeful,” she said.
“I don’t have confidence they will walk the walk,” she said of the finalists. “I personally believe it’s time to shift the power dynamics … the underserved … need to have more power and leverage.”
Yang, who lives in the Central District, said she was concerned about gentrification, zoning and housing affordability. “Housing affordability is forever an issue — and homelessness. The mayor has swept this up and put it out of sight. That’s super unacceptable.”
— Seattle Times reporter Evan Bush
Update, 10:36 a.m.:
Hearing postponed on woman’s request for permanent protection order against Sheriff John Urquhart
A judge on Tuesday morning agreed to delay until Dec. 5 a hearing to determine whether a woman should be granted a permanent protection order against King County Sheriff John Urquhart.
Judge Elizabeth Martin granted the continuance requested by Urquhart’s attorney Todd Maybrown. Urquhart, who is seeking re-election in Tuesday’s election, did not attend the hearing in King County Superior Court in Seattle.
Martin, a Pierce County Superior Court judge, also reissued the temporary protection order the woman obtained last week, which prohibits Urquhart from knowingly coming within 500 feet of her. The woman, who last year accused Urquhart of raping her years earlier, sought the order because she claims Urquhart has been disseminating her medical information to discredit her during his re-election campaign.
Urquhart has adamantly denied that he assaulted or had consensual sex with the woman. In April, the King County Prosecutor’s Office announced that Urquhart wouldn’t face charges in connection with the alleged rape.
— Seattle Times reporter Lewis Kamb
Update, 10:24 a.m.:
How are Seattle’s mayoral candidates feeling?
On Election Day morning, the two candidates for Seattle mayor planted themselves at intersections in South Seattle.
Both Jenny Durkan and Cary Moon appeared to be in high spirits as, surrounded by supporters, they hoisted signs and waved to passersby on foot and in cars.
Durkan, who was at the corner of Rainier Avenue South and Martin Luther King Jr. Way South, said she was a bit nervous but believed there would be a surge of last-minute votes for her.
Moon, at the Othello light-rail station, said she was excited but calm as she always is when things get intense.
At both sites, the candidates seemed to shake their signs with increased vigor when motorists honked as they drove by.
— Seattle Times reporter Christine Clarridge
Update, 9:14 a.m.:
Voters Tuesday morning dropped off ballots at a box outside the King County Administration building every few minutes on their way to offices and appointments.
Some were still feeling a scar from last year’s election.
“As I was walking down here — I realized it was one year since the last election. It’s not a good feeling,” said Allison Schwartz, who works in the city of Seattle’s Transportation Department.
Schwartz said she was feeling optimistic about both Seattle mayoral candidates: Jenny Durkan and Cary Moon.
“They’re going to stand up to the White House,” she said.
It was nice to have two women vying to lead the city, she said.
“I have a 5-year-old daughter,” she said. “Anytime there’s someone aspiring to be in power or up at the top, it’s good for the city and for my kids to see.”
Both are mothers, Schwartz noted, and that could yield a different perspective.
Brandon Paz, 39, who works for King County’s Behavioral Health and Recovery Division, said he was pleased to see both mayoral candidates talking about transportation, homelessness and behavioral health, three issues he has worked closely on in the past.
“I don’t have any solutions for these (issues). I don’t know if anyone has major solutions. I appreciate that it’s in the conversation,” he said.
— Seattle Times reporter Evan Bush
Update, 8:26 a.m.:
It’s Election Day, folks. If you’ve waited until today to cast your ballot, it’s not too late. Just make sure it’s postmarked by the end of the day or in a drop box by 8 p.m.
The candidates for Seattle mayor are getting an early start. Cary Moon greeted potential voters at the Othello light-rail station, and Jenny Durkan spent her morning waving campaign signs at Rainier Avenue South and Martin Luther King Jr. Way South.
She’s hoping for an Election Day “Jenny surge.”
At Othello, Moon encouraged last-minute voters to do the right thing — and turn in that ballot.