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November 29, 2011 at 4:45 PM

Stokes wins in Bellevue, recount scheduled

A hard-fought battle for an open Bellevue City Council seat ended Tuesday, with a 51-vote victory by John Stokes over Aaron Laing.

But the narrow margin separating the candidates — just under 0.17 percent — means the results will be subject to a manual recount, which will begin Dec. 8.

The election, which focused largely on Sound Transit’s light-rail plans, maintains the council’s current 4-3 balance of power.

Stokes said in a statement that he was confident his lead would hold through the recount of more than 35,000 ballots. He said he had won a race “that will long be remembered as the most contentious and contested in Bellevue history.”

Stokes’ statement said voters “rejected a special-interest driven opposition campaign that engaged in some of the most negative tactics imaginable, proving that Bellevue is a community of educated, thoughtful individuals who appreciate leadership and service over super-heated rhetoric.”

Laing hasn’t conceded and said in an interview, “My perspective is there’s a reason the state requires a mandatory recount of votes and we’ll see what comes from that process.”

Laing, who at one point condemned an independent-expenditure campaign that challenged Stokes’ honesty, said Tuesday he was unhappy about negative campaigning by Stokes.

The King County Canvassing Board on Tuesday certified the results that were counted in batches through Monday night.

Comments | More in Government | Topics: Aaron Laing, Bellevue City Council, Election 2011

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