by Emerald Staff
It’s election night! This is a monumental, historic evening, and results at the national, state, and local level will have a huge impact on so many critical issues — from COVID-19 response to the economy, social justice, and reforming police departments. The Emerald will be posting live election results updates here as the night goes on, so check back frequently on our website or on our Twitter feed for the latest results. King County and Washington State will begin announcing election results at 8 p.m., and we’ll be reporting updates throughout the evening on local state legislative races, statewide offices, and a range of ballot measures on topics ranging from sex education to reforming the King County Sheriff’s Office.
In addition, Emerald editor and founder Marcus Harrison Green will be joining the good people at Converge Media (plus Emerald writers Lola E. Peters and M. Anthony Davis) for ongoing online election night coverage throughout the evening. Watch on Converge Media’s website, on Facebook, or on YouTube (or right here).
UPDATE – (11/7/20) 8:37 a.m.:
Joe Biden is the projected winner of the 2020 presidential election after securing Pennsylvania, according to the Associated Press and NBC News. Biden’s victory makes Donald Trump a one-term president after four tumultuous years in the White House. Trump is the first incumbent to lose re-election in more than a quarter-century.
Biden’s projected victory also means that Kamala Harris will make history, becoming the first woman and first person of color to hold the office of vice-president.
Unsuccessful in his two previous bids for the presidency, Biden’s 2020 victory was delivered by a coalition of women, people of color, older and younger voters, and members of the LGBTQIA+ community.
UPDATE – (11/6/20) 8:58 a.m.:
Former Vice President Joe Biden is on the cusp of the presidency Friday, seizing a lead over President Donald Trump in both Pennsylvania and Georgia and drawing ever closer to securing the 270 electoral votes needed to win the White House.
Biden, who has 253 electoral votes, pulled ahead of Mr. Trump in Pennsylvania by about 9,000 votes on Friday morning. If his lead holds — and it is expected to — the state’s 20 electoral votes would push him past the threshold to win the election. In Georgia, his lead was so narrow that state officials said a recount was inevitable.
Former Vice President Joe Biden, was declared the winner of the key swing states of Wisconsin and Michigan, two key swing states that President Trump won four years ago.
The Trump campaign has pressed ahead with lawsuits challenging the validity of the count in several states, a move that could further delay the announcement of the presidential victor.
Michigan Court of Claims Judge Cynthia Stephens has already denied a request from Trump’s campaign to stop counting ballots over a claim that a poll challenger was denied access to view ballots being counted.
The lawsuit was filed on Wednesday, although, Michigan has already completed its ballot counting.
Biden is currently leading Trump in the popular vote by more than 3.8 million votes, should this stand it would be the second consecutive time that Trump has lost the popular vote.
UPDATE — 10:17 p.m.:
People in South Seattle are nervously watching the narrow presidential race, with Joe Biden and Donald Trump in a nail-biting Electoral College showdown that will depend on results from a few swing states such as Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Georgia. Congress too, seems a tossup, with both control of the Senate and House uncertain at this moment. However, there was no drama in the local House races, with U.S. House Representatives Pramila Jayapal and Adam Smith cruising to victories over marginal opposition. Jayapal, the rep for the 7th District, had 84.56% of the vote over opponent Craig Keller with 15.2%, while Smith, of the 9th District, led 75.84% to 23.98% over Doug Basler.
King County Proposition 1
A $1.74 billion bond measure (King County Prop 1) that would fund improvements to Harborview Medical Center, appeared to be passing easily this evening, with more than 77% in favor after early returns. A vote of 60% was required to pass the measure, which would fund a new $952 million medical facility, seismic and clinic upgrades, as well as a new 150-bed addition to provide medical care to people without shelter.
King County Executive Dow Constantine said in a released statement on the passage of the bond, “While there are still many votes to be counted, I thank the voters of King County for their support for Harborview Medical Center. These investments will ensure that our region continues to be the best place in the country to receive emergency medical care, and needed seismic upgrades will protect the lives of patients, employees, and visitors to Harborview. Besides helping people with behavioral health needs and better preparing the region to fight pandemics, the measure creates thousands of family-wage construction jobs at a time when our region needs them the most.”
UPDATE — 10:12 p.m.:
Seattle Proposition 1
Seattle voters approved a measure to replenish mass transit funds and add new bus service connecting Seattle to South King County, with Proposition 1 passing by a massive 80–20 margin. As reported by the Emerald, the proposition renews a 0.1% sales tax and car tab fee to raise an estimated $42 million per year. Supporters say it would protect free Orca cards for high school students, and ameliorate traffic and pollution in the Duwamish Valley.
“Today’s vote in support of Proposition 1 for transit funding is good news for West Seattle,” City Council member Lisa Herbold, who represents that area, said in a statement. “Proposition 1 specifies that up to $9 million annually to support mobility needs related to the closure of the West Seattle Bridge and COVID-19 response and recovery.”
UPDATE — 10 p.m.:
Two Democrats are running for Washington’s Lieutenant Governor seat: former US Rep. Denny Heck and Marko Liias, current Washington State Senate Majority Floor Leader.
Heck is leading 47.31% to Liias’ 33.81% with 2,934,397 votes counted so far, and with 18.89% going to write-in candidates.
Interest in the race was heightened by the possibility that Gov. Inslee may be wooed to take a White House cabinet position if Joe Biden is elected president. Inslee has indicated, however, that he would finish his third term if re-elected.
Secretary of State
One of Washington’s few Republican statewide office holders, Kim Wyman is narrowly holding on to her position managing the state’s elections, which she has held since 2013. Early election results indicate Wyman leading Democrat Gael Tarleton 51.61% to 48.28%.
Superintendent of Public Instruction
Incumbent Chris Reykdal is turning back a challenge from Maia Espinoza 56.77% to 42.75% in a nonpartisan race overshadowed by COVID-19’s impact on schools and Ballot Measure 90, which would require public schools statewide to offer comprehensive sexual health education.
Eight-year incumbent Democrat Bob Ferguson, best known for bringing lawsuits against Trump Administration policies, is leading Republican challenger Matt Larkin 59.05% to 40.85%.
Democrat Mike Pellicciotti is leading Republican Duane Davidson 55.78% to 44.14%.
Commissioner of Public Lands
Incumbent Democrat Hilary Franz is leading Republican challenger Sue Kuehl Pederson 59.26% to 40.64%.
Democrat Mike Kreidler, fifth-term state Insurance Commissioner, is leading 67.79% to 31.78% over Republican Chirayu Avinash Patel to gain his sixth term.
Incumbent Democrat Patrice McCarthy is holding onto her seat against Republican challenger Chris Leyba — leading with 60% to his 40%.
UPDATE — 9:49 p.m.:
With one million votes counted, two county charter amendments that could have a big impact on efforts toward racial and social justice in King County, appear to be passing. Charter Amendment 5, which would make the King County Sheriff an appointed, rather than elected, position, was leading 56.61% to 43.39%, while Charter Amendment 6, which would grant the King County Council the ability to set the structure and duties of the sheriff rather than relying on the duties specified in the state code, was leading 63.08% to 36.92%. The amendments’ sponsors, including King County council members Rod Dembowski and Girmay Zahilay insist they’re vital steps towards an accountable sheriff’s office with a more appropriate scope of duties and a sheriff who better represents the needs of King County residents.
UPDATE — 9:43 p.m.:
State Representative 43rd District, Position 1
Nicole Macri maintains her seat as Representative for the 43rd District Position 1, sweeping 92.4% of the vote. Serving as deputy director of the Downtown Emergency Service Center (DESC), Macri has been an outspoken champion of renters and tenant’s rights, especially important since underemployment due to COVID-19 threatens vulnerable hourly workers. Last year she passed a major eviction reform bill, and she supports House Bill 2907, which will provide funding for homeless and mental health services through an excise tax on large businesses with higher-paid workers.
First drop for the King County Charter Amendments.— Girmay Zahilay (@GirmayZahilay) November 4, 2020
All of them winning handedly! Including Amendments 5 & 6. Too early to call it a victory, but given that results tend to get more progressive over the coming week, things are looking good. Thank you, King County. pic.twitter.com/EA37CvpKHz
According to an article in the Seattle Times, Macri’s opponent, Republican Leslie Klein, “said he’s running only to give Macri a challenger and asked his board to not take his campaign seriously.”
UPDATE — 9:35 p.m.:
State Representative 43rd District — Position 2
Despite the swell of grassroots support of Sherae Lascelles, abolitionist and harm reductionist endorsed by the Seattle Peoples Party, it wasn’t enough to unseat Frank Chopp, who has represented the 43rd since 1995. Chopp won 66.73% of the vote as opposed to Lascelle’s 32.79% at the time of this update.
Chopp is a former speaker of the House (from 2002–2019) and his five-point agenda addresses housing issues, early education, healthcare for all, action on climate change and the Workforce Education Investment act. Lascelles, a Black, disabled, nonbinary community organizer, performed better than any of Chopp’s previous challengers in the August primaries. In a candidate forum last month, Lascelles criticized Chopp’s “incrementalism,” and said “we can’t just add the word progressive to a legislation and say that it’s actually enough.”
Lascelles spoke with South Seattle Emerald on election night and said their differences with Chopp were precisely what drew supporters to their platform. Lascelles noted that Chopp is “very progressive for the body he was born into, but moving through the world with those privileges doesn’t catch the whole story for all the other identities and experiences. That’s what we were able to portray in a way that no one else whose run against him has.”
Running against “someone who is a land-owner, millionaire, white, cis[gendered]-het[erosexual] male,” Lascelles hoped to bridge the gap between policy makers and people with more intersectional, marginal identities. “There is a chasm there that needs to be filled,” they said.
Lascelles will continue to be involved in community organizations like Decriminalize Seattle and the Green Light Project.
UPDATE — 9:30 p.m.:
Kirsten Harris-Talley defeated opponent Chukundi Salisbury 66.57% to 32.04%, making her the new representative for the 37th District Position Two. The position was previously held by Eric Pettigrew since 2002, who announced he wouldn’t run for re-election in January. Harris-Talley has said she ran for the position because “her neighbors asked her to.” The self-described “policy nerd” has some big plans in the works as she heads to Olympia. Aligning herself with the Black Lives Matter movement, Harris-Talley is an abolitionist with a detailed divestment/investment plan, including a thorough audit of the Department of Corrections’ $2.4 billion budget, as well as ending bail, private prisons, and youth detention.
Harris-Talley spoke with South Seattle Emerald after the first election results were announced on Tuesday.
“I think what the margin shows is that our neighbors understood that we were building a community campaign built with and by for them,” Harris-Talley said, speaking by phone from a gathering at The Station cafe on Beacon Hill.
“Our three biggest priorities are: First, revenue equity so we have enough dollars to invest in our community … We need the rich folks to pay their share,” she explained. “As an abolitionist, I’m proud that so many youth have come forward and want us to steward juvenile justice bills; the other piece is renters — making sure our renter rights package passes. Our neighbors in Skyway don’t have the same protections as folks in Seattle.”
Her first priorities in Olympia will be helping small businesses like The Station, making sure public schools get the funding they need, and police reform. “I’m proud to already have neighbors who are part of our accountability council coming forward with a juvenile justice bill and gun responsibility bill and I think will really make changes that we need to see so that we can have safety built by people instead of incarceration systems that come in after the fact,” Harris-Talley said.
Both candidates enjoyed popular appeal, with Salisbury touting his lifelong community organizing, activism, and entrepreneurship that would bring real-world experience to Olympia. In a recent online forum hosted by the Coalition of Immigrants Refugees and Communities of Color (CIRCC) Salisbury said if elected to office, he would hold public officials accountable to their promises and “make sure the progressive wins actually make wins for the People of Color.” He also earned the official endorsement of Andrea Caupain, the CEO of nonprofit Byrd Barr Place, who suspended her campaign in June.
Update to this section (9:45 p.m.):
Speaking with South Seattle Emerald on election night, Salisbury expressed gratitude for his campaign organizers and supporters. “A lot of people that voted for her would say that it’s nothing against me, they just liked her better, and that’s okay,” he said.
Addressing the critique from Harris-Talley’s campaign that Salisbury accepted corporate money, he said, “If you don’t really have a lot of rich friends, how does someone from the 37, one of the poorest districts in the Seattle area, how is it that a person is supposed to run? This whole progressive platform is ‘Oh we’re not going to take any money through corporations or PACs,’ so what that boils down to is we’ll never have any bus drivers or line cooks or landscapers or anyone like that who will ever run for office because they don’t have the connections.”
“At the end of the day, as an African American who’s from Seattle, I’ve continued to see my community be erased while progressive Democrats have been in charge,” Salisbury explained. “So what’s the answer to that? No matter who’s been in charge, gentrification marches on.”
UPDATE — 9:11 p.m.:
Washington State Governor Jay Inslee is headed to re-election to a third term, according to Washington State returns. Inslee leads challenger Loren Culp 60.12% to 39.88%.
The race pitted Inslee, a candidate with deep experience who ran in the Democratic presidential primary, against Culp, police chief of Republic, Washington who failed to provide any information about his elected or professional experience, education, or community service in the Washington Voters’ Pamphlet.
Still, Culp gathered strong support that tapped into frustration over Inslee’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic that called for a measured reopening of businesses.
UPDATE — 8:45 p.m.:
Statewide Ballot Measure 90, which would require all public schools in the state to offer comprehensive sexual health education, is leading by a large margin at 60% to 39%, with around 90% of ballots counted and just a few counties left to be counted. The measure, which requires medically accurate, age-appropriate instruction about a wide range of issues related to sexual and emotional health, divided the two candidates for Superintendent of Public Instruction, incumbent Chris Reykdal and his challenger, Maia Espinoza.
Bob Hasegawa ran unopposed for State Senator representing the 11th District, a position held since 2013. A labor organizer and social justice activist, Hasegawa has advocated for a State Bank to keep revenue within the state.
Former federal prosecutor David Hackney ousted incumbent Zack Hudgins 61.35% to 35.60% for State Representative for the 11th District, Position One. Hackney led Hudgins by 12 points in the August primaries, foreshadowing defeat for the nine-term incumbent. In an interview with the Emerald earlier this year, Hackney said he prioritized issues important to the 11th District like income inequality, worker protections, healthcare, and gun responsibility. He said incarceration was “a necessary tool,” but that it was overused, especially in cases of nonviolent or minor drug crimes, and wants to remove obstacles to housing and jobs for people leaving the criminal justice system.
Former high school teacher and business owner Steve Bergquist was reelected as 11th District State Representative Position Two with 72.46% of the vote. Bergquist’s areas of emphasis include funding public education, healthcare and environmental issues. He is endorsed by local unions, and Planned Parenthood. Bergquist defeated Republican candidate Sean Atchison, who comes from a tech background and opposed Senate Bill 5395 (which is on the ballot as State Referendum 90 this year), requiring age-appropriate sex and health education in public schools.
UPDATE — 8:28 p.m.:
Incumbent Sharon Tomiko Santos came to another overwhelming victory, clinching another term as State Representative for Legislative District 37 Position One over her opponent John Stafford. So far, Santos has garnered 82 of the vote compared to Stafford’s 16%, with 70% of ballots counted. First elected to the State House of Representatives in 1989, Santos has a 40-plus-year history of grassroots education and civil rights activism. Santos recently spoke at a Vietnamese Americans for Biden march from Othello Park to New Holly, where she spoke about her personal connection to the area.
In a year where COVID-19 has disproportionately affected the 37th district, Santos, the Chair of the House Education Committee, wants to focus on equity in education and opportunities for BIPOC communities. At a July online Candidate Forum hosted by the Coalition of Immigrants,
Refugees, and Communities of Color (CIRCC), Santos expressed her support to reinstate I-1000, the Affirmative Action Initiative. She also supports State Senator Bob Hasegawa’s State Bank, a Land Bank, and the JumpStart Seattle plan.
Santos spoke with South Seattle Emerald shortly before election results rolled in. Pointing out that the House of Representatives is preparing for a “significant drop in revenues,” and figuring out how to maintain services, tax reform, and new sources of revenue are “going to be very, very contentious.”
“The budget decisions are going to be informed by, ‘How is racial equity and racial justice served by this budget or this bill?’ That’s going to be the standard for the big pieces of legislation. We are anticipating about 17 to 18 bills around police accountability to come out of this legislature. I’m very excited to have those policies discussed,” Santos said. “I think this is a set of bills that are critical to the 37th district.”
Santos also spoke about the imperative for students to have the right technology and internet access, as well as “social, emotional learning and mental health support.” She said, “It’s not just about getting kids back into school, which we all want to do when it is safe. In the meantime we also have to figure out a way to keep our young people safe when they’re not in school, and that’s an ongoing issue and it goes right back to things like police accountability.”
While her opponent John Stafford ran on a platform of “bold structural change, not just incremental reforms,” the high school history teacher failed to connect with voters. On the topic of police reform in the July forum, neither Santos or Stafford claimed to be abolitionists, but Santos referred to her previous work with I-940, which required de-escalation training and made it easier to prosecute police officers for using deadly force. “We can do so much more,” she said, and promised to halt the surplussing of military-grade equipment into civilian law enforcement.
UPDATE — 8:18 p.m.:
Early returns on election night 2020 produced no clear winner in the presidential election, draping the country in uncertainty as ballots continue to be counted. Joe Biden is winning, as expected, in liberal states like California, New York, and Colorado, while incumbent Donald Trump is the projected victor in solidly red states like Oklahoma and Louisiana. But results are too close to call or incomplete in battleground states including Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.
Close to home, while U.S. House Representatives Pramila Jayapal and Adam Smith cruised to victories over marginal opposition, an initial tranche of voting results released by King County Elections at 8 p.m. was generally inconclusive in a number of competitive races.
Live Election Night Coverage, hosted by Converge Media & the South Seattle Emerald
Join Marcus Harrison Green, Mike Davis, and Lola Peters of the South Seattle Emerald and Julia Jessie and Omari Salisbury of Converge Media (and more!) for culturally relevant election coverage and insights from national and local election races and how they will impact our community.
Editor’s Note: This post incorrectly stated in the 8:45 p.m. update that 100% of ballots were counted by this time and that Ballot Measure 90 had passed. The measure is passing by a large margin with around 90% of ballots counted. We updated the post to correct the mistake. An update was also made to the 8:18 p.m. update to include information about U.S. House Reps and King County election results. The 10 p.m. update originally stated that incumbent State Auditor Patrice McCarthy was leading challenger Chris Leyba by a roughly 3–1 margin and was corrected to state that the race is currently at more like 60%/40% statewide.
Featured image: A King County ballot drop box (Photo: Alex Garland)