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Auburn Area Election Wrap-Up

The November 5th election night results gave Auburn voters an idea of what their 2020 city council and Auburn School District School Board would look like.  Most of the races had enough votes separating the candidates to distinguish who would be the likely victor.  However, two races, one for the city council and one for the school board, were harder to predict.

Auburn City Council Position No. 5

The percentage between Robyn Mulenga and Ryan Burnett, candidates for the Auburn city council position number 5, were tight.  Burnett was excited with the initial results, having a strong lead in Pierce County and hopeful that King County would continue to trend in his favor.   “Hopefully King County works out. I have a lot of things I want to set as goals for us as a city,” said Burnett on election night. “ I’m nervous but looking forward to the opportunity.”

Mulenga remained cautiously optimistic at the initial results.

As results for the city council position number 5 race were released the first week Mulenga slowly began to make up votes in King County.  Burnett held his lead in Pierce County, but the distance between the candidates shrunk with each day’s release.  Thursday’s results flipped the switch for Mulenga, who took the lead in King County.

Since Thursday, November 7th, Mulenga has continued to pick up votes in both King and Pierce County. The final multi-county results have Mulenga leading Burnett by 2.99%(394 votes).  Burnett still holds a 1.61% (26 votes) lead over Mulenga in Pierce County.  Mulenga leads Burnett by 3.63% (420 votes) in King County.

“I am thrilled with the outcome of this election,” said Mulenga.  “I would like to thank the Auburn residents for voting me into office.  I am ready to start working on the issues that are important to our community.”

Burnett did not respond to a request for comment.

Auburn School District, School Board Director District 2

The second tight race is for Auburn School District School Board Director District 2.  Multi-county results initially had Chris Grames leading opponent Arlista Holman by 3.8%.  Though Holman gained votes throughout the first week, Grames appeared to be holding his lead.

It was the November 8th’s results that flipped this race to Holman’s favor, in both counties.  Though the margin is slim, Holman has maintained her lead since gaining it.  The final results release November 25th have Holman leading Grames by 0.57% (86 votes) in the multi-county totals.  In King County Holman leads by a remarkable 0.38% (54 votes) and 2.52% (33 votes).

“I’m excited to be slightly ahead in such a close race and anxious for it to be decided,” said Holman.

The remainder of the races in this election had no drastic changes in their outcomes as results were released.

Auburn City Council Position No. 3

The latest multi-county results for Auburn city council position no 3 have James Jeyaraj leading opponent Ken Pearson by over 11%.  Jeyaraj leads in both King and Pierce Counties.  He provided the following press release statement regarding his election win:

I want to thank everyone who voted in this election, I feel honored, humbled and grateful for your faith and confidence in me by electing me as your next city councilman for position no 3.

I also want to thank Mayor Nancy Backus, Congresswoman Kim Schrier, M.D, Congressman Adam Smith, every individual and organizations such as the Valley Professional Fire Fighters, IAM District 751, the 30th, 31st and 47th District Democrats, King County Democrats and King County Realtors, who endorsed and supported me in various capacities. Finally, I want to thank my wife Deborah for her unwavering support.

I am proud to see that the new council in 2020 will better reflect the diversity of Auburn and hope that all in our community will feel their voices will be heard.

To my opponent, Ken Pearson, thank you for also running. I am proud of the respectful campaigns we both ran, that were based on issues and not on personal attacks. I wish you the very best.

I look forward to working with my fellow councilmembers, the mayor, city staff and the community.  We need to come up with workable solutions to solve some major issues our city is facing. There is a lot of work to be done, but I know we can accomplish great things when we work together as a community. I look forward to hearing from you and working with everyone to build a community we are proud to call home.”

Auburn City Council Position No. 7

Election night results continued to trend in incumbent Bob Baggett’s favor, reelecting him to his position no. 7 seat on the city council.  Baggett’s multi-county lead over opponent Vera Orlandic-Hodak sits over 2.5%.  He leads in both King and Pierce Counties.

“I am deeply grateful for the support and trust that the citizens of Auburn have placed in me,” said Baggett. “I promise to represent all of the people of our great and diverse city during the next four years. Thank You.”

Orlandic-Hodak did not respond to request for comment, but on election night offered Baggett congratulations on the initial results.  “I wish him the best of luck.”

Chris Stearns ran unopposed in his bid for city council position no. 1.  Sheilia McLaughlin (district no. 1) and Laura Theimer (district no. 4) both ran unopposed for their school board races.

City of Pacific

In the City of Pacific incumbent, Leanne Guier’s initial 7.72% lead shrunk considerably as results continued to be released.  Though Guier remains her multi-county lead, it is by a much slimmer margin.  Final results have her at a multi-county lead of 1.19% (21 votes).

The initial results of the Pacific City Council races remained unchanged, with the latest multi-county results seeing Katherine V. Garberding maintaining her close lead over opponent Jaylynn Markwald.  Brice Erickson was able to make up some votes over the weeks, but not enough to close the gap between him and opponent Joshua Putnam. David B. Storaasli held his strong lead over opponent Aarron Fahrenkrug.

Election Certifications and Recounts
Final results were released Monday, November 25th.  Elections are certified Tuesday, November 26th.  As of today, mone of the Auburn area races qualify for a recount, as the threshold is both less than 2,000 votes and less than 0.5% difference.

“For races in small jurisdictions like Auburn, the percentage is more important than the 2,000 votes as almost everything is under a 2,000 vote difference at the city level (with the exception of big cities like Seattle, of course),” explained Halei Watkins with King County Elections. “As of today, none of those races qualify for a recount, with the closest being the Auburn School Board race.”

“Recounts are not triggered until certification on November 26th,” continued Watkins “Voters with signature issues have until 4:30 pm on Monday November 25th to fix any signature issues with us, which would allow their ballot to be counted.”

UPDATED: Monday, Nov. 25th 7:30pm – results updated.

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