With the 2019 Sammamish City Council race underway, Sammamish Comment looked back at the 2015 race in which Christie Malchow and Tom Hornish were elected for the first time and Ramiro Valderrama was reelected to a second term.
Malchow is seeking reelection. Hornish and Valderrama are retiring. Malchow defeated former city council member and mayor Mark Cross, who was seeking a comeback after a four year hiatus. He was closely aligned with Mayor Tom Vance, who was seeking reelection to a second term. Malchow won with 58% of the vote, a landslide.
Hornish defeated Vance, making him only the second incumbent Sammamish council member and the only sitting mayor in the city’s history to be defeated. Vance won his 2011 election with 67% of the vote against a weak candidate. He lost his reelection, receiving only 47% of the vote, a 20 percentage point drop. Hornish was a reluctant candidate, running because he didn’t want to see Vance run unopposed.
Valderrama defeated Hank Klein, who withdrew from the race too late to be removed from the ballot. Valderrama used his huge win, with 85% of the vote, as a springboard to run in 2016 for the State Legislative House against Democrat Roger Goodman. Goodman, a flawed candidate who should have been easy to defeat, hammered Valderrama by capturing 62% of the 45th District vote. Valerrama only captured 40% of the Sammamish vote in the 45th–a dismal showing compared with his 2015 and 2011 results.
Some of the issues then remain issues today: Tamarack storm water drainage, Sahalee Way and, as always, development.
Here’s a retrospective of that election.
Precinct-by-precinct analysis of 2015 city council election
Originally published Nov. 30, 2015.
A precinct-by-precinct analysis of the Nov. 3 Sammamish City Council election demonstrates that development concerns and a muffed plan for the Sahalee Way road projects helped lead the way to victory for Christie Malchow and Tom Hornish over Mark Cross and Tom Vance.
Ramiro Valderrama faced only token opposition, and therefore Sammamish Comment hasn’t spent a lot of time analyzing his race against Hank Klein. Klein dropped out of the race too late to take his name off the ballot. He didn’t campaign or raise money.
Here’s what The Comment’s analysis found:
- There are a number of precincts in the Position 6 race (Hornish vs Vance) where the vote margin of won/loss were five or less votes. The obvious conclusion is that a little more doorbelling by Hornish probably would have flipped these precincts; and vice versa, if Vance had done some additional doorbelling.
- There were only a couple of precincts in the Position 2 race (Malchow vs Cross) which Malchow lost by five or fewer votes. She lost the Vance/Odell precinct by a single vote. Hornish won this precinct by two votes. Malchow: 49.3%, Cross 49.6%. Hornish, 49.%, Vance 49.1%.
- 41-3386 includes Windsor Green and a bunch of other densely-packed developments. Former State Sen. Dino Rossi, who has already talked about potentially running for Council in two years, lives in this precinct. Malchow and Hornish won 69% and 63% of the vote.
- 41-0307: Hornish and Malchow live in this precinct. Malchow, 77.4%, Hornish 73.4%.
- 45-3293: Cross lives here: Malchow 61.5%, Cross 38.5%, Hornish, 64.5%, Vance, 35.5%. This is a precinct where there have been development and storm water drainage issues, with residents criticizing staff and Council for approving development and creating the problem. Cross appeared at a few Council meetings testifying in favor of residents. It didn’t do him any good.
- 41-2937: Deputy Mayor Kathy Huckabay lives here. She vehemently opposed Malchow, Valderrama and Hornish and reportedly doorbelled her precinct on behalf of Cross and Vance. No good: Malchow, 56%, Hornish, 53%. Valderrama, 85%.
- 41-2940: Council Members Nancy Whitten and Don Gerend live here. Whitten initially endorsed Cross but by the end of the campaign clearly tilted toward Malchow. She endorsed Hornish. Gerend didn’t endorse anyone but appeared in a campaign advertisement for Valderrama and appeared to tilt toward Malchow and Hornish. Malchow, 65.8%, Hornish 55%.
- Vance’s did well in the Trossachs area, which voted against the Initiative and Referendum, an issue Vance opposed, and around Beaver Lake, historically a strong environmental vote. But he lost around Pine Lake, another strong environmental area and the home to environmentalist Ilene Stahl, who endorsed Vance. However, her endorsement doesn’t carry the weight it once did; she’s been out of Friends of Pine Lake leadership for years and new people don’t know who she is.
- Cross carried Beaver Lake and one precinct in Trossachs, but otherwise there’s no discernable pattern to his vote.
Results in “Issue-Areas”
There were five areas for which there were high-profile issues:
- Chestnut Estates West development (41-0307): these results are listed above.
- Conner-Jarvis development (41-2973), Kempton Downs: This was a blow-out for Malchow, Valderrama and Hornish. Kempton Downs residents complained that Vance lobbied them to not appeal the City Staff decision approving the plat application. This project became, along with Chestnut Estates West, poster-boys for complaints that the City Staff routinely granted exceptions to ordinances, creating the “Variances-R-Us” image of the City. Malchow, 73.3%, Valderrama, 90.9%, Hornish, 70.4%.
- Sahalee Way project (45-2450 and adjacent precincts): After the City Council approved a design for widening Sahalee Way from NE 25th St. to NE 37th without public input and a push to approve a contract before public comment would be taken, this became a poster-boy for the proverbial bridge to nowhere and an example of thumbing the City’s nose at the citizens. The Sahalee subdivision results: Malchow, 72.6%, Valderrama, 93%, Hornish, 73.1%. Another adjacent precinct, 45-3387, gave Malchow 65.5% of the vote and Hornish 58.7%. The third adjacent precinct is the Vance/Odell precinct, which voted for Cross by one vote and Hornish by two votes. Sahalee is also where Harry Shedd, chairman of Citizens for Sammamish, lives. Shedd created a Political Action Committee, Coalition for Transparent Government, to support Malchow, Valderrama and Hornish in the election.
- The 42nd St. barricade: The “Thumb” of the city, in the far northeast part of the City on the west side of the barricade (45-3389) voted for Malchow, 63%, Hornish, 63%. But on the east side of the barricade, Timberline split: Malchow, 54%, Vance, 55%. Also: the precinct immediate to the south, 45-2963, split: Malchow, 56.8%, Vance, 51.6% (a nine vote difference).
- East Lake Sammamish Trail: All of these precincts go up and onto the Plateau, so it’s impossible to segment out just the lakefront votes. But all these precincts voted for the Malchow, Valderrama and Hornish.
- Sahalee, Kempton Downs and 0307 (Chestnut/ELST) provided 332 votes of Hornish’s total margin of victory.
There are no city elections scheduled for 2016, but there are legislative races. Once Klahanie comes in, with roughly 3,000+ votes, the 5th LD will once again represent a portion of Sammamish, along with the 41st and 45th. Resuming relations with the 5th LD legislators will be important for Sammamish projects and funding. Unfortunately, State Rep. Jay Rodne just went off the deep end with an irrational rant on his Facebook posts.
When Sammamish was moving against Issaquah during the Issaquah-Klahanie annexation vote, Sammamish got State Sen. Andy Hill (R-45th) to introduce legislation to deny Issaquah tax money. The bill never got out of committee. Vance and Gerend testified in Olympia in favor of the bill. When it came, later in 2014, for Hill to run for reelection, Vance, Odell and Huckabay endorsed Hill’s opponent. Vance’s photo appeared in literature from Hill’s opponent. Hill won the Sammamish portion of the 45th (roughly North of SE 8th St., except for one precinct by Lake Sammamish) with about 55% of the vote.
In this election, Hornish won the 45th with 53.2% of the vote, fractionally less than his city-wide winning percentage.
The Hill and Vance elections of 2014-15 suggest there is a solid ~45% Democratic base here. Given the D-tilt in Redmond and Kirkland, defeating Goodman (who should be an easy target) or Springer (who will be far more difficult) would be a challenge for a Republican. There aren’t enough R-votes here to overcome Kirkland and Redmond D-votes.
2017 City Council Election
Four seats on the City Council will be up for election in two years: Don Gerend, Kathy Huckabay, Tom Odell and Bob Keller. Gerend, Huckabay and Odell will be in their mid-to-upper 70s and Keller, the youngster, will be a spry 63. Gerend has been on the Council since 1999, and except for a four year hiatus, so has Huckabay. Odell will be finishing his second term and Keller his first.
Whether the septuagenarians will seek another term will be interesting to watch. But the results in this election in which they reside do not bode well for their potential reelections.
Odell and Vance reside in the same precinct. Hornish, against Vance, won by two and Malchow, against Cross, lost by one. That Odell and Vance at best saw a break-even result is not encouraging for an Odell reelection.
Keller’s precinct, 45-3505, went 52.6% for Malchow and 50.3% for Hornish. Huckabay’s precinct went 56% for Malchow and 53.2% for Hornish. These results don’t provide a solid home-base for either Keller or Huckaby from which to seek reelection.