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Democrats dominating 41st District

Poll worker Gary Spak, of Mercer Island, upper right, assists a voter with a ballot at Island Park Elementary School on Election Day, Nov. 4. - Chad Coleman/Mercer Island Reporter
Poll worker Gary Spak, of Mercer Island, upper right, assists a voter with a ballot at Island Park Elementary School on Election Day, Nov. 4.
— image credit: Chad Coleman/Mercer Island Reporter

If current election results remain the same, voters of the 41st Legislative District will have elected Democrats to all three seats for the first time since the Great Depression. It would also be the first time in decades that one of the winners is not an Islander.

As of Monday night, Democrats Judy Clibborn and Fred Jarrett had sealed victory while Marcie Maxwell was ahead of her opponent. However, there is some uncertainty in that race as Republican candidate and current Mercer Island City Councilmember Steve Litzow had narrowed the lead to less than 2 percent, behind 50.7 to 49 percent. The election will not be officially certified until Nov. 25.

On Monday night, about 78 percent of the district’s ballots had been counted, but an additional 80,000 more countywide had yet to be tallied. Roughly 10,000 ballots from the 41st may remain to be counted.

According to state records, Jarrett is only the third Democrat elected to the Senate from the 41st District since 1944. Republicans held the seat every year from 1953 until 2005, after Brian Weinstein defeated two-term Senator and former Representative Jim Horn.

The 41st District represents all of Mercer Island as well as parts of Bellevue and Renton. The last time that two Democrats won both House seats in the 41st was in 1956, when Samuel Bajema and A.E. Edwards won. Following that election, however, the 41st tended to elect Republicans to both seats every two years until current Rep. Judy Clibborn won in 2002.

A four-term state representative, Jarrett received a vast majority of the vote in his first bid to become a senator. Jarrett was ahead of his Republican opponent, Islander Bob Baker, with 33,958 to 22,967 votes.

“I am quite surprised at the results. The margin is much higher than I expected,” Jarrett said of his 60-to-40 percent lead.

The race for the state’s 41st Legislative District House seat was much tighter and getting closer as the week went on. Maxwell, a Renton resident and School Board member, maintained a lead over Litzow since the original count but only had 917 more votes on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Rep. Judy Clibborn was elected to her fourth two-year term to the state House while running unopposed.

For election updates, go to www.mi-reporter.com.

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