It’s over, at last: After a two-day mandatory recount triggered by an extremely close final spread in the contest for Bellevue City Council Position #1, we finally have a winner: progressive activist John Stokes, whose final margin of victory ended up being just fifty-four votes. That’s less than the population of one precinct.
Stokes, a retired attorney and education activist, will take office next month, joining Claudia Balducci, John Chelminak, Kevin Wallace, Don Davidson, Jennifer Robertson, and Conrad Lee on the Bellevue City Council.
Stokes succeeds incumbent Grant Degginger, who announced back in the spring that he would be retiring from the council. Degginger subsequently endorsed Stokes for his position — as did the King County Democrats, Washington Conservation Voters, Amalgamated Transit Union, M.L. King County Labor Council, and many other progressive organizations.
Stokes’ victory is yet another defeat for Tim Eyman benefactor Kemper Freeman, Jr., who funded I‑1125 and tried to unseat Balducci and Chelminak as well as opposing Stokes. We can now say that Freeman was unsuccessful on all counts.
Prior to the automatic mandatory recount that began yesterday and ended today, Stokes had a lead of fifty-one votes. He gained three as a result of the recount.
Because the mandatory recount was a hand count (as opposed to a machine tally), there is no further possibility of recounts.
That means the election is over and Stokes is the victor.