Newly sworn in Mercer Island City Council member Tom Acker poses with family, friends and supporters on Nov. 28. Photo courtesy of Traci Granbois

Newly sworn in Mercer Island City Council member Tom Acker poses with family, friends and supporters on Nov. 28. Photo courtesy of Traci Granbois

Mercer Island general election results certified, Acker sworn in and Grausz honored

The City Council welcomed a new member and honored an outgoing member.

The final results from the November general election were tallied and certified on Nov. 28.

This year’s contentious election on Nov. 7 featured races for three seats on the Mercer Island City Council and two on the School Board of Directors. New members of both groups will be sworn in over the next few months, replacing many long serving community volunteers.

Two City Council members, Benson Wong and Salim Nice, will return to their seats on the dais, and will be joined by Tom Acker. Deborah Schneider Lurie and Brian Giannini Upton will join the school board after winning their races.

Nice ran unopposed for Position 2, and had been filling the vacancy left by Jeff Sanderson in Position 4 since July. Nice earned 5,962 votes in the general election.

In January, Nice will take over for retiring Councilmember Dan Grausz. On Dec. 5, the city honored Grausz’s 18 years of service. He is the second-longest serving council member in Mercer Island’s history.

Acker won the race for Position 4, beating opponent Joy Langley 55 percent to 44 percent. He was ceremoniously sworn in at the Dec. 5 council meeting, but could begin his involvement in city business as soon as the election results were certified. He was sworn in before the council’s special meeting on Nov. 28.

Acker’s campaign was based on transparency, collaboration and bringing a new voice to the council. Acker gained name recognition in the community after founding the Save our Suburbs (SOS) group and running for council in 2015.

Wong won re-election for Position 6, earning almost twice as many votes as challenger Mark Coen. Wong will be sworn in for another term in January, when the council will also nominate and vote for members to serve as mayor and deputy mayor for 2018-2019. Current Mayor Bruce Bassett, whose council term expires in 2019, said on Nov. 21 that he won’t seek a fourth term as mayor.

There were technically two contested races for board seats in 2017, though one candidate stopped campaigning in September. Diana Lein’s name still appeared on the ballot for school board director Position 4, though she said she withdrew and endorsed her opponent, Lurie, who won with 62 percent of the vote.

Upton and Caifeng Wu ran for school board director Position 2, and Upton won with 72 percent of the vote.

Lurie and Upton will replace outgoing board members Adair Dingle and Dave Myerson, who have served for 12 and eight years, respectively. The school board will reorganize and select new leadership for 2018, and honor Dingle and Myerson’s service on Dec. 14.

Contested races for King County executive and King County sheriff were also on the ballot, along with King County Proposition No. 1 (a levy lid lift for veterans, seniors and vulnerable populations).

Incumbent sheriff and Mercer Island resident John Urquhart lost his re-election bid to challenger Mitzi Johanknecht, who earned about 57 percent of the vote to Urquhart’s 43 percent.

Incumbent Executive Dow Constantine beat challenger Bill Hirt 77 percent to 23 percent, and Prop. 1 passed with 62 percent of the vote.

There are 17,663 registered voters on Mercer Island, and 8,754 Mercer Island ballots were counted in this year’s election, for a turnout of about 49.6 percent. Final turnout was over 50 percent in the 2015 election.

See more at www.kingcounty.gov/elections.

Acker is sworn in by City Clerk Ali Spietz on Nov. 28. Photo courtesy of Traci Granbois

Acker is sworn in by City Clerk Ali Spietz on Nov. 28. Photo courtesy of Traci Granbois

Many of the people Dan Grausz shared time with on the city council, along with many other community members, honored his service to Mercer Island on Dec. 5. Photo courtesy of David D’Souza

Many of the people Dan Grausz shared time with on the city council, along with many other community members, honored his service to Mercer Island on Dec. 5. Photo courtesy of David D’Souza

Grausz addresses the crowd at his retirement reception on Dec. 5. Photo courtesy of David D’Souza

Grausz addresses the crowd at his retirement reception on Dec. 5. Photo courtesy of David D’Souza

City Hall was packed to honor Grausz’s 18 years of service to the community. Photo courtesy of David D’Souza

City Hall was packed to honor Grausz’s 18 years of service to the community. Photo courtesy of David D’Souza

Tom Acker poses with his three sons and other Mercer Island kids after being ceremoniously sworn in to the City Council on Dec. 5. Photo courtesy of Julie Underwood

Tom Acker poses with his three sons and other Mercer Island kids after being ceremoniously sworn in to the City Council on Dec. 5. Photo courtesy of Julie Underwood

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