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ELECTION FINAL: Maxwell wins 41st District House seat
The third and final race to represent Islanders in Olympia was decided Tuesday as the county certified the Nov. 4 general election.
Democrat Marcie Maxwell, a Renton resident, beat Mercer Island City Councilmember Steve Litzow by 745 votes, or 50.51 to 49.35 percent. Maxwell will join a duo of Islanders from the 41st District, which represents all of Mercer Island as well as parts of Renton and Bellevue. Democrats Fred Jarrett and Judy Clibborn also won this year. Jarrett was elected to a four-year Senate term after serving eight years in the House. Clibborn ran unopposed and was elected to her fourth two-year term in the House.
According to state legislative records, it is the first time since the Great Depression that the 41st elected Democrats to all three positions. It is also the first time in many years that one of the elects was not an Islander. While Clibborn and Jarrett have been working together in Olympia since January 2003, Jarrett said he was pleased to have Maxwell join "the team."
"Someone from Renton is really going to help our team," said Jarrett. It's a different community and having somebody that can bring that diversity to the legislature will be a real advantage."
Litzow, who was elected to his second term on the City Council last year running unopposed, said he called Maxwell on Monday to congratulate her on a successful campaign and said he looks forward to working with her as a City Councilmember on issues that affect Islanders.
Maxwell said she was pleased with the results and appreciated the voters' support.
"I appreciate the support from all the communities of the 41st District," the Representative-elect Maxwell said of the victory.
While many other races were clearly decided moments after polls closed Tuesday, Nov. 4, the race between Litzow and Maxwell got closer and closer and at one point almost met the state threshold for an automatic recount. Litzow originally trailed by about 4,000 votes after the initial tally, but made steady gains as absentee ballots were counted in the weeks after the election. Last week, the margin of victory hovered around 500 votes and looked to be approaching a recount.
According to state statutes, a recount is conducted in state legislative races if the difference between the candidates is less than 150 votes and less than .25 percent. The contest between Litzow and Maxwell was the only legislative race in King County near recount levels.
A total of 73,380 votes were cast from the 41st, a turnout more than 85 percent. On Mercer Island, there were 14,703 ballots cast out of the 16,787 registered Islander voters, a turnout that neared 88 percent.
The official canvassing report will be released on Friday, Dec. 5. The Reporter will be looking at the information to determine how Islanders voted in 2008. For more election information, go to www.kingcounty.gov/elections.