Arlington voters favoring Larson

ARLINGTON — Political newcomer Margaret Larson appeared to have enough of a lead to hold off a strong challenge from City Councilman Dan Anderson in early returns for the city’s mayor race Tuesday.

Larson said she was not counting the victory prematurely, but she was happy with the early lead.

"I’m excited. I’m tired of campaigning. I’m ready to start the show," Larson said.

Larson gathered with many friends, family and supporters at the old Arlington Times building, and the Local Scoop was catering the election-night party.

Larson said she appreciated all the help she had with her campaign.

"I don’t know enough about this to think I’m a shoo-in at this point," Larson said.

Voters already knew going into Tuesday’s election that a new mayor would take office in Arlington for the first time in 13 years. Larson and Anderson defeated incumbent Bob Kraski in September’s primary.

Anderson, a Washington State Trooper and Army reservist just back from Iraq, faced an uphill climb based on the primary, in which Larson received 47 percent of the vote. Larson, a well-known Arlington native, was married to the man Kraski replaced, the late John Larson, a popular mayor during the 1980s.

Anderson will keep his seat on the City Council, because his term was not up this year.

In the two contested City Council races, Sally Lien was barely leading Pennie Carey, and Dick Butner also held a close lead over Gil McKinnie.

Lien, the lone incumbent of the four, was seeking her third term. Carey campaigned by saying city leaders need to embrace Arlington’s growth with a more pro-business stance.

"Too close to call," Lien said. "I’m really not very nervous; I’ll either get hired again or get fired."

Lien called the turnout "terribly abysmal."

Butner, a retired Arlington police officer with 22 years of service, counted on his local familiarity over McKinnie, a teacher at Lake Stevens High School. Butner agreed with Lien’s assessment.

"The turnout’s terrible," Butner said. "I’m going to wait until a couple of days, see what the absentees are like. One thing I do like is it’s a good race, a close race. We both can feel good about it."

In an uncontested race, Graham F. Smith won a council-at-large seat.

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