Leigh Henderson and Mason Thompson are dueling for a seat on the Bothell City Council and Thursday morning the first-time candidates couldn’t have been any closer.
Because they were tied.
Hours later, another round of ballot counting pushed Thompson ahead of Henderson by two votes, 5,790 to 5,788. It was his first lead in this contest to decide who succeeds Andy Rheaume in Position 2.
“The race is still a coin flip at this point,” he wrote in an email. “But it does feel better to be two votes ahead than two votes behind.”
Henderson, owner of Alexa’s Cafe, enjoyed an 86-vote lead on the night of the Nov. 5 election. Though the advantage is gone, her hopes are not.
“I thought on the 6th I’d know one way or another. I am an optimist,” said Henderson, who once drove school buses in Sultan and Monroe. “I think it’s remarkable that we’re in this situation. I did as much as I possibly could to get known. Now it’s up to the voters and what they want.”
Thompson, an account manager at Pushpay, a software company in Redmond, said at times it feels a bit more intense post-election.
“There aren’t any guarantees when you run for office other than the community will eventually decide on your race, and in this case it’s close enough that it’s going to take a bit longer to get that decision than expected,” he said.
Few ballots, if any, are left to count in either Snohomish County or King County. Both are involved because parts of the city lie in each of them.
As of Thursday, Henderson is ahead 3,644 to 3,479 among the city’s King County voters. Thompson leads 2,311 to 2,144 in the Snohomish County precincts.
“It’s fascinating,” Henderson said. “If it was just Snohomish County, he’d have it. If it was just King County, I’d have it.”
Both counties plan to update ballot counts Friday.
On Nov. 26, each county will certify its respective election results. At that time, it’s possible one of them will be declared the victor.
However, it’s so close that state law mandates a hand recount of every ballot be carried out. That process may not wrap up until mid-December.
“Two votes behind or two votes ahead, it’s likely the recount will swing the final count more than that,” Thompson said.
And if it winds up tied, a winner will be chosen with the flip of a coin.