Unlike nation, state and local voters deliver mild surprises



Tuesday was crazy. Unforgettable. Historic.

Across the nation we consumed results as they arrived one projected state at a time, until the early evening when we had to wait, like we did during the rain delay in the 7th game of the World Series, for an outcome.

Finally, a few moments before the stroke of midnight, a new president, Donald J. Trump, was elected.

Wednesday morning vaunted pundits, many of whom had wrongly penciled in Hillary Clinton for the job, began offering their postmortem on the phenomena that was a phenomenal 2016 presidential election.

Meanwhile, in Washington, voters delivered a pretty much status quo election. At least through the first night of ballot counting.

Democrats and Republicans won all the statewide seats and congressional seats they were expected or favored to win. And it does not look like there will be any power shifts in the Legislature. Republicans could lose a seat in the state Senate but remain in control. Democrats are on course to add a couple seats to their majority in the House.

In Snohomish County, a surprise, and a mild one at that, is shaping up in the race for a seat on the Snohomish County Council where where Republican Sam Low has the appointed incumbent, Democrat Hans Dunshee, up against the ropes.

Low, president of the Lake Stevens Council, had a 352-vote lead on Dunshee Tuesday. Low won the primary by 1,100 votes.

The question now is who are all those people who waited until the final days of the election to turn in their ballot. If they are mostly Democratic voters, Dunshee should benefit and be able to retain the seat. If the late-arriving voters are predominantly Republican, then Low’s lead will grow against one of the county’s longest serving elected officials.

Another Election Night surprise, of the mild variety as well, is voters’ embrace of ST3, Sound Transit’s $54 billion expansion plan.

The measure received 51.6 percent in the Snohomish County portion of the transit district, a sign voters are willing to pay the price and endure the wait in order to bring light rail service to Everett in the future.

While Snohomish County’s delegation will have some new and familiar faces in 2017, its political DNA isn’t changing.

In South County, two Democrats are on course to succeed two departing Democratic lawmakers in the 1st Legislative District. Guy Palumbo will replace retiring state Sen. Rosemary McAuliffe, D-Bothell, while Shelley Kloba will assume the seat of Rep. Luis Moscoso, D-Bothell.

Farther north, appointed state Rep. John Lovick, D-Mill Creek, is brimming with confidence he can continue in the job. He ended Tuesday night with a six point lead on Republican Janice Huxford of Lake Stevens.

And Republican John Koster is heading back to Olympia where he served back in the 1990s. He will take the baton from Rep. Elizabeth Scott, R-Monroe, in the 39th Legislative District.

While the landscape doesn’t seem to be getting a makeover like the presidency, there’s still ballots to count and time to be wowed.

Political reporter Jerry Cornfield’s blog, The Petri Dish, is at www.heraldnet.com. Contact him at 360-352-8623; jcornfield@heraldnet.com and on Twitter at @dospueblos.

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