EVERETT — Sam Low cleared his path onto the Snohomish County Council on Monday after his opponent acknowledged defeat.
By the weekend, the Republican had widened his lead over Democrat Hans Dunshee to more than 2,800 votes, compared to 352 on election night. That gave him 52.2 percent of the ballots tallied so far.
Dunshee extended his congratulations, but by late-afternoon had not called his opponent directly.
“For me, it’s on to the next adventure,” Dunshee said. “I don’t know what that is, but I’ll find it.”
The veteran lawmaker attributed his loss to a “Trump wave,” although Low also edged him out in the August primary. President-elect Donald Trump did not carry the district, with a majority of voters in Lake Stevens, Monroe, Snohomish and unincorporated east county areas supporting Democrat Hillary Clinton.
Dunshee now finds himself out of public office for the first time since 1997, when he returned to the state House after an earlier loss. Dunshee was appointed to the County Council in February, to fill the seat that Dave Somers left after being elected county executive last year.
Dunshee said he was unsure whether he plans to challenge Low in 2017, when the District 5 seat will be up for a full four-year term.
Democrats have held a 4-1 majority on the County Council since 2008, but Low’s arrival will narrow that to 3-2.
Low, who is a Lake Stevens city councilman, is eager to start the new job. He visited county council chambers ahead of a budget hearing Monday and expects to be sworn in Nov. 29, soon after election results are certified.
“Moving forward, I intend to work across both sides so that together we can do the best for (Snohomish County),” he said in a statement. “This includes working with Executive Somers and the rest of the County Council. There are many needs and challenges to address in the 5th District; let’s get to work!”
Low said his win would not have been possible without support from his wife, Mariah, and his many campaign volunteers. He also thanked Dunshee for his years of public service.
Dunshee wished Low success in his campaign pledge to improve traffic congestion on the U.S. 2 trestle, Highway 522 and Highway 9.