File image courtesy King County Elections.

File image courtesy King County Elections.

Election wrap-up: King, Pierce voters disagree on statewide measures

The election hasn’t been certified as of yet, but the results are likely to remain how they are now.

The Nov. 5 general election was unique in certain ways, but one thing remains constant through every campaign season: it all ends with winners and losers.

Here’s how things played out on the Plateau.


Much has been made of the final tally for Initiative 976, the Tim Eyman-backed ballot measure that once again fought for $30 license tabs. Opponents screamed – and spent plenty of money – in an effort to convince everyone that transportation projects would be shelved if the money supply was cut off. A lingering dissatisfaction with the Sound Transit aspect of the package was equally key.

In the end, voters decided either with their pocketbooks, with a general distrust of government or their anger over paying for transit project they’ll likely never use.

Locally, voters echoed the sentiments found around the state. The initiative was rejected in King County (57 percent to 43 percent), where transit is more often a part of daily life, but was supported in Pierce County (67 percent). Statewide, only four counties were in opposition and it received nearly 53 percent support.

When it came to Referendum 88 and it’s affirmative action orientation, King and Pierce voters again were at odds. The measure was approved in King County (61 percent) but defeated in Pierce (57 percent against). Statewide, it was close: at the close of last week, “no” votes equaled 50.28 percent of the total.


Levy boosters went in with high hopes, but voters had other ideas. Proposition 1, which would have provided money for teaching and academic programs, was rejected. Needing a simple majority to pass, the measure netted just 47 percent support.

“It certainly wasn’t what we expected,” said Mike Hagadone, assistant superintendent for the White River School District.

In the days immediately after the election, district leaders were assessing future plans. “We’ve had multiple discussions about the results,” Hagadone said, “and we’re currently looking at what our next course of action will be.”

If district residents felt they had just approved something similar, they were correct. A four-year levy was floated in 2018 and was passed. The district is now collecting money on the first year of that levy.

But here’s what changed. The state Legislature, during its 2017 session, had implemented a statewide levy lid of $1.50 per $1,000 of assessed value, taking effect in 2018. That’s the amount the district’s voters approved last year. The Legislature amended its decision during their 2019 session, increasing the rate restriction from $1.50 to $2.50, taking effect in 2020. That extra dollar is what White River hoped to collect with the Nov. 5, Proposition 1 request.

It would have brought the district an additional $3.75 million in each of the next three collection years. For the owner of property valued at $400,000 it would have meant an additional $400 in property tax each year.


Beau Chevassus will be keeping his seat on the seven-member City Council. He was appointed earlier this year to a Position No. 2 post that expires with the close of the year. Chevassus wound up with more than 70 percent of the vote, defeating Tom Bruhn.

In two other council races, the incumbents – Chance LaFleur and Anthony Wright – were not challenged.


With three seats on the City Council up for grabs, two provided no drama at all: Tamie Boxx-Deady was unopposed in her re-election bid and Hunter Cooper was the lone candidate for the Position 3 post being vacated by Janie Edelman.

There was more-than-average interest in the Position 5 race, however, where Kristiana de Leon defeated incumbent Chris Wisnoski by netting 53 percent support. Wisnoski has ties to the 3 Percenter group that – depending upon one’s political orientation – is seen simply as an organization of community-minded patriots or an anti-government, anti-immigrant group with ties to right-wing extremist groups.


There will be a couple of new faces joining Buckley’s governing board. In the Position 5 race, being vacated by incumbent John Leggett, Lyn Rose took more than 63 percent of the vote to defeat David Lewis. In the Position 4 race, Amanda Burbank earned 53 percent of the vote to oust incumbent Beau Burkett.

With the Position 6 post being vacated by Milt Tremblay, voters went for a familiar name and offered 64 percent support to former councilman Marvin Sundstrom. He was chosen over Berkley Machmeier. In the Position 7 race, Sandy Burkett was unopposed.


The small town will have a new mayor, with Kevin Vesey leaving his council post and running unopposed for the top job.

There were four Town Council races on the ballot, two of those contested. For Position 1, it was a tight race between David Rodway and Ryan Manowski. Twenty-four hours after Election Day, Rodway had the slimmest of leads, 72 votes to 71; by Thursday, the margin was 98-96, still for Rodway. For Position 5, voters went for Terry Carter (51 percent) over Maggie Emry.

For Position 5, incumbent Tom Argo was unopposed and, for Position 3, newcomer JJ Sandin also was unopposed.


Voters had no choices, despite four seats on the council being up for grabs. Elected as single candidates were Tony Caldwell, Carolyn Norris, Timothy Trent and Barbara Wigton.


In another case where council opportunities attracted only a single candidate, victories went to Jennifer Kramer, Bill Summers and Rick Sellers.


The big news here is than Nancy Merrill, who has served the district for 28 years, is wrapping up her multiple terms of service.

In her place, Jennifer Kent was went unchallenged for the District 1 seat on the board. Two other races were on the ballot but featured unopposed incumbents Tina MGann and Tyson Gamblin.

White River School Board

In the race for the District 2 seat, incumbent Karen Bunker received more than 54 percent of the vote to hold off challenger Stacy Mahnke. Incumbent Matt Sheer was not opposed.


Thomas Morgan, Julie Sandin and Marlee Patterson were elected to school board seats, each running unopposed.


A vacancy for the Position 3 seat attracted candidates Paul Fisher and Eric Heintzinger and it was Heintzinger getting the nod with 52 percent of the vote.

A pair of department incumbents, Angela Stubblefield and Amy Trachte, were re-elected without opposition.


District leadership will be unchanged, as incumbents Kevin Garling and Dale Mitchell were unopposed.

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