This is turning out to be quite the drama-filled local election year!
Less than an hour ago, a Redmond City Council race that didn’t look all that competitive on Election Night saw a lead change. In the contest for Redmond City Council Position #1, challenger Varisha Khan is now leading entrenched incumbent Hank Myers… by a mere nineteen votes.
Khan is a young Muslim woman who is making her first run for elected office. She has been active in progressive politics for several years, working with OneAmerica and serving as a delegate for Bernie Sanders to the 2016 Democratic National Convention. She was also chosen to serve as the Democratic presidential elector for Washington’s 1st Congressional District in 2016. In that role, she helped make history by casting a vote for Hillary Clinton in the Electoral College.
“I bring the perspective as the daughter of parents who chose many years ago to make Redmond their home, and I’m also someone who has again chosen Redmond as a home for my own family,” Khan wrote in a message to voters published on her campaign website. “At a time when Redmond is changing and growing so quickly, it is so important for our city council to have the perspective of someone who understands why people want to live and work here. I chose Redmond and I hope you will choose me for Redmond City Council!”
Myers is a Republican who previously ran for the Washington State House of Representatives seven years ago and got trounced by now-Lieutenant Governor Cyrus Habib. He has served several terms on the Redmond City Council and was backed in his reelection by prominent development interests in Redmond.
During his time on the Redmond City Council, Myers has consistently opposed any and all efforts to take positions against destructive right wing initiatives such as those sponsored by Tim Eyman. Myers has also regularly espoused right wing talking points on issues like transportation from his seat on the dais.
Redmond (NPI’s hometown) is one of Washington State’s most progressive cities and Democratic activists on the Eastside have long argued that it deserves more diverse and effective representation. After failing to recruit anyone to run against Myers the last time his position was contested, Democratic and progressive activists jumped at the opportunity to back a credible challenger to Myers.
On Election Night, as mentioned, Myers appeared to be cruising to reelection, with 55% of the vote… a seemingly decisive ten point lead.
But the late ballots have consistently gone against Myers. His share of the vote has dwindled with each passing day. And as of tonight, he’s losing.
After King County reported its second ballot drop of the day, Khan found herself in first place. She leads with 6,508 votes (49.94%), while Myers has 6,489 votes (49.80%). There are thirty-four write-in votes.
What an incredible comeback. While Seattle’s Kshama Sawant is known for late inning wins, it’s a feat very few other candidates ever pull off.
Khan’s work to get out the vote down the stretch appears to have paid off handsomely. Regardless of the final outcome, she has made this race as competitive as it could possibly be. This race could easily end up in a recount, with the winner not known for certain until after the election is certified.