The results of one of the most contentious and expensive statehouse races remain in the air.
The results of one of the most contentious and expensive statehouse races remain in the air. Courtesy of the Anderson Campaign

Ingrid Anderson, a nurse at Overlake Medical Center who hopes to boot incumbent Democratic State Sen. Mark Mullet out of office, started out the week trailing her opponent by 36 votes. After a couple weeks of ballot chasing from both campaigns and a final ballot drop today, she now trails Mullet by 57 votes and 0.06% of the vote share.

Such a narrow margin—less than 150 votes and also less than 0.25% of the vote share—will trigger a manual recount. The Seattle Times's Paige Cornwell summarized the process nicely:

Hand recounts involve a 15-step process, where teams of two count individual ballots by having one person look at a ballot and say the chosen candidate’s name aloud, then handing it to the second person, who confirms the name and puts the ballot in the appropriate pile.

The recount will likely take place in early December, King County Elections spokeswoman Hannah Kurowski said, and take about two weeks.

Anderson's camp said they turned in "approximately 100 forms" over the last four days from voters they believed supported Ingrid but had yet to be reflected in the county. Mullet's campaign conducted their own ballot chase too, though, and right now it's looking like he'll win pending the results of a recount.

"We always knew this would be a very close election, and while I doubt the recount will change these results in a significant way, I want to make sure we have an accurate tally of the final vote," Anderson said in a statement, all but conceding. "Regardless of the final outcome, it’s clear Eastside voters want a Senator who is responsive to the priorities of affordable health care, pandemic support, and action on climate change."

The final results will determine whether the Senate Democrats have to deal with a former bank executive who likes to spend his time opposing taxes, blocking modest climate change legislation, slipping anti-union poison pills into legislation, and basically forwarding emails from the hotel and restaurant lobby to the Governor, or a nurse with good ideas about how to fix our health care system.

Unions spent a couple million hoping to put Anderson over the top, and Jay Inslee took the uncommon but politically painless step of endorsing her over the guy who opposes his agenda. Meanwhile, big business PACs (funded by realtors, charter school proponents, banks, pharmaceutical companies, insurance companies, etc.) stuffed over a million into Mullet's pockets so that he'll defend the billions in theirs.