By Miki Mullor
After counting 95% of the ballots, Mayor Karen Moran won her re-election in a landslide, winning over 75% of the votes. Moran is also the only candidate in this election crossing the 10,000 vote count.
Also winning, in tight races, were Karen Howe, Kali Clark and Amy Lam.
Moran wins in a historic landslide
Moran, the only incumbent in these elections, commanded over 75% of the votes, showing vast support to the current city council’s majority and their agenda. That majority includes Deputy Mayor Christie Malchow and Council Members Ken Gamblin, Kent Treen and Chris Ross. Moran’s margin is an increase compared to the average 62% margin Malchow, Gamblin and Treen won in 2019.
Moran now joins the “Sammamish 10K Votes” club of council members who garner more than 10,000 votes. In 2019, Malchow, Gamblin and Treen were the first in the City’s history to win more than 10,000 votes.
Compared with her first election win in 2017, Moran increased her supporters by 39% (from 7,864 votes in 2017 to 10,964 in 2021).
Lam vs. Amato: Campaign funding contrasts
Lam, a long time Samammish resident and a creative director, won with a slim 1.24% margin over Planning Commissioner Josh Amato. There are still some votes to count, which could affect the final margin.
The Lam-Amato race was a contrast of money spent. Amato spent the most while Lam spent the least, showing once again that in Sammamish fundraising doesn’t necessarily mean success at the ballot.
Amato raised the most money in Sammamish history, $47,146. But less than 17% came from Sammamish residents and $13,500 was his own money. Lam outright rejected any fundraising from third parties, spending only $2,100 on her self-funded campaign, which was the least of all other candidates, by far.
Similarly, in the 2019 race between Council Member Ken Gamblin and Rituja Indapure, Gamblin raised the least of all candidates $5,450 against Indapure, who raised $38,483, the most in Sammamish history until Amato this year.
Gamblin won 11,596 votes (62.5%) – a record for a first time candidate.
Howe, Clark beat Kelsey, Benack
This is the third time Howe is running for City Council, this time winning, so far, 266 fewer votes than in her 2019 race against Treen, but yet able to edge a 1.10% advantage over newcomer Melanie Kelsey.
Kali Clark, a former forest firefighter, a first time candidate and a new Sammamish resident, won by a 3.62% over long time resident Richard Benack.
The election is not certified until Nov. 23. Remaining ballots to be counted typically come from overseas and usually don’t alter the results from this late date.
Where was STCA?
Absent from these elections were STCA and Don Gerend who spent $116,000 in 2019 to oppose Malchow, Gamblin and Treen. They spent zero dollars this year. Sammamish Life, the PAC run by resident Micheal Scoles has spent $31,500 to support Moran, Kelsey and Benack and oppose Howe, Harb and Clark. (Proving once again, money doesn’t guarantee success.)
Lam, Howe and Clark will replace former Council Member Jason Ritchie, Pam Stuart and Chris Ross. Ritchie’s vacancy was filled when the council appointed Tom Odell, himself a former council member. Odell did not stand for election.
Voters turned out in lower numbers compared to 2019, 16,122 ballots, compared to 19,675 ballots in 2019 with Friday’s incomplete ballot returns.
(source: King County Elections divisions, 95% of ballots
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