Challenger Sarah Perry leads 20-year incumbent Kathy Lambert in the District 3 race for the King County Council as of Nov. 2.
Perry has received 55% of the vote so far, and has an 11-point lead over Lambert, with 21% of ballots counted among registered voters. The county is anticipating a 46% voter turnout.
The King County Council District 3 position represents residents from the northeast part of King County — including the Snoqualmie Valley, Redmond, Sammamish and Issaquah — and is the largest of the nine districts.
Lambert is seeking her sixth term on council and has held the seat since 2001. In her five previous efforts, she ran unopposed in three races and handily won the other two races with almost 60% of the vote in each. However, she faces a tough road to re-election because Perry is giving her a serious challenge.
During the August primary, Perry took 36% of the vote, which was only four points behind Lambert. The remaining 23% went to third-place candidate Joe Cohen. Although the county council is nonpartisan, Lambert has previously run for office as a Republican and both Perry and Cohen, who combined for nearly 60% of the primary vote, are Democrats.
Lambert also suffered a fall from grace in October and was removed from leadership positions by a 9-0 vote of the county council. This came after she mailed a campaign flyer to voters that was widely condemned as racist, antisemitic and divisive. The mailer depicts Perry as a “socialist puppet” being controlled by prominent Democratic politicians, including Sen. Bernie Sanders, Vice President Kamala Harris, Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant and King County Councilmember Girmay Zahilay.
The mailer was criticized by state and local officials, including King County Executive Dow Constantine, State Attorney General Bob Ferguson, North Bend Mayor Rob McFarland and Snoqualmie Councilmember James Mayhew. The Seattle Times also rescinded its endorsement of Lambert and has endorsed Perry. After defending the mailer initially, Lambert has since apologized.
Perry is the owner of a political consulting firm and has received endorsements from Gov. Jay Inslee and U.S. Rep. Kim Schrier. Lambert is a former state representative for the 45th District and spent 16 years as a school teacher.
Perry has raised over $317,000 in campaign contributions, about $136,000 more than Lambert, according to the state Public Disclosure Commission. Lambert, however, has slightly outspent Perry, spending over $259,000 to Perry’s $243,000.
Election results will be finalized after 4 p.m. Nov. 23.