Bertlin wins Council race

Islander Debbie Bertlin is the newest Mercer Island City Councilmember. Bertlin becomes the second woman on the present Council and the ninth woman to serve on the Council since its inception in 1960.

Bertlin’s commanding lead, set on election night, was more than enough to defeat longtime City Councilmember El Jahncke. As of Monday evening, Bertlin was ahead of Jahncke with 59 percent of the ballots, or about 1,400 votes.

“It’s a tremendous honor to have such resounding support from the community, now and throughout this election season,” Bertlin wrote on her Web site. “While Mr. Jahncke has served the Island well for over 20 years, and deserves sincere recognition for the commitment shown, the Island is clearly ready for the fresh perspective and approach I will bring to the Council,” she said.

“And, of course, I must recognize and thank the campaign’s many supporters, endorsers, volunteers and enthusiasts,” she continued. “How fortunate to have worked with a wide range of energetic and intelligent supporters, and I will continue to draw on their experiences in years to come.”

Jahncke did not wait for more votes to be counted after election night. He called Bertlin the next morning to congratulate her on her success and discuss city issues.

“She is a fine lady, and she will make a fine Councilmember,” he said. “She ran an excellent campaign.”

Bertlin, 47, who grew up on the Island  and graduated from Mercer Island High School, returned to live on the Island after working around the world. She and her husband have two young daughters and live on First Hill. Bertlin has been active in the community largely through the Mercer Island Preschool Association.

Bertlin already knows what lies ahead. “My first order of business will be to establish strong, respectful and effective working relationships with all Council members and city staff,” she said. “The city manager’s performance review, budget analysis and review, infrastructure and transportation issues will require significant focus in the first quarter.”

Election officials’ numbers indicate that they have counted 8,152 ballots to date, representing 49 percent of Island registered voters.

According to the Washington State Public Disclosure Commission, reports to date indicate that Jahncke’s campaign spent about $12,500. Bertlin raised and spent about $1,000 more.

Bertlin will be sworn in to office on the first City Council meeting of the new year.

The three City Council incumbents who ran unopposed, Jane Meyer Brahm, Mike Cero and Bruce Bassett, had an average of 118 write-in votes each cast for others.

In the race for Pos. 6 on the King County Council incumbent Jane Hague is the apparent winner over challenger Richard Mitchell of Mercer Island. As of Monday evening, Hague continued her lead from Nov. 8, holding of 54 percent of the votes, while Mitchell has 46 percent.

Under 40 percent of King County voters cast their ballots for a total of 46,000 votes.

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