Klein, Somers, Ryan leading in county council races

EVERETT — Ken Klein appeared to have the edge Tuesday night to take over for term-limited fellow Republican John Koster in Snohomish County Council’s District 1.

Klein, an Arlington city councilman, garnered 54.2 percent of ballots tallied by the county auditor. His Democratic opponent, Bill Blake, took 44.7 percent. That put Klein ahead by 1,691 votes out of 17,736 counted.

“The numbers look pretty solid for us right now and we think they’re going to get better as we go along,” Klein said from the Medallion Hotel in Arlington, where about 150 of his supporters had gathered.

Blake, a stormwater supervisor for Arlington city government, spent election night with a dozen friends at his house along the Stillaguamish River. He acknowledged “it would be pretty tough to make up the difference.”

Blake said he’d wait a day before deciding whether to call Klein. He was proud of the positive tone of the race and his showing as a first-time candidate.

The Blake-Klein race was the closest of three County Council seats up for election in 2013.

In District 5, incumbent Dave Somers, a Democrat, felt comfortable with his 57.2 percent of the election-night vote total, to Republican challenger Chris Vallo’s 42 percent. Somers led by 2,389 votes out of 15,745 counted.

“I’m looking forward to working with the two new council members,” Somers said. “It’ll be an interesting time.”

Vallo, however, wasn’t ready to call it quits.

“We’re still running up those numbers and waiting for those numbers to come in,” he said.

In District 4, Terry Ryan, a Democrat, had 62.2 percent of 15,375 votes in the race against Republican opponent Bob Reedy, who ran no noticeable campaign.

Ryan said he was excited to start the job, after hard campaign work that included nine months of doorbelling.

“I’m looking forward to working with people I know and respect,” he said.

County council members craft county laws and play a role overseeing the county’s annual operating budget, projected at $225 million for next year. The post pays about $106,000 per year.

Blake and Klein are competing for District 1, which covers north Snohomish County minus the Tulalip area.

In addition to serving on the Arlington City Council, Klein, 34, also sits on the county planning commission. By day, he manages operations for a food services company that contracts with Microsoft. The Republican’s campaign focused on issues such as property rights and keeping a close watch on county spending.

Blake, 54, is a stormwater supervisor in Arlington city government and a longtime co-chairman of the Stillaguamish Watershed Council. The Democrat’s campaign focused on land-use issues such as planning for population growth.

While the Blake-Klein race has been friendly, Republicans see the seat as a must-win; it’s the only one the GOP controls on the five-member County Council.

Klein raised more than twice as much for his campaign as Blake: nearly $54,000, compared to less than $22,000, the state Public Disclosure Commission reported.

Somers was running for a third consecutive term in District 5, covering Snohomish, Monroe and other areas along the U.S. 2 corridor, as well as Lake Stevens and Maltby.

Somers, 60, is a fisheries biologist by training who lives near Monroe. In the campaign, the Democrat said he wanted to continue efforts to balance the county’s sometimes conflicting obligations to protect wildlife and farmland. Somers has supported opportunities for outdoor recreation in his district, including attempts to build a shooting range on county land near Sultan.

Vallo, 55, is a real estate broker from Lake Stevens seeking his first election to public office. The Republican promised a more conservative approach than Somers, by taking a harder line against taxes. He also said he’d oppose the county’s $18 million Smith Island project, which aims to restore salmon runs to the Snohomish River, because it would flood farmland and destroy it.

Somers’ campaign raised almost $96,000. That was about 14 times more than the nearly $7,000 Vallo had raised, and far more than any other county political candidate in 2013.

Ryan, 56, and Reedy, 59, were running for the open District 4 seat. Incumbent Dave Gossett, a Democrat, is term limited.

Ryan works in commercial real estate and served more than 17 years on the Mill Creek City Council before stepping down last year. He didn’t attend election night parties, because he was coaching the Mercer Island high school varsity girl’s soccer team in a playoff match.

Reedy, a Republican from Mountlake Terrace, has run unsuccessfully for the City Council and the Legislature. His recent employment includes customer-service work.

The district covers suburban communities in south Snohomish County, mostly east of I-5. It includes the cities of Mountlake Terrace, Mill Creek, and Brier, the northern part of Bothell, and unincorporated communities such as Silver Firs.

Ryan reported raising nearly $67,000, Reedy nothing.

The Snohomish County Auditor plans to release updated election totals at 5 p.m. Wednesday. Final results are due to be certified Nov. 26.

Noah Haglund: 425-339-3465; nhaglund@heraldnet.com.

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