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King County Elections

Go to: Seattle City Elections | School Board Elections | Vote by Seattle Issue | Main Page

Find election results here. The first results will be posted at about 8 p.m. on Nov. 2, with daily afternoon updates until results are certified by Nov. 23. 

If you're here, you already are or aspire to be an informed voter. Below, you'll find articles that will help you get your bearings on why these upcoming elections are important.

This guide won't tell you who to vote for, but should help you make the choice for yourself. We're a nonprofit so we don't make political endorsements of any kind. What we do is publicly driven journalism. To create this guide, we asked our readers what they want to know before voting this year. Then we asked the candidates your questions. Those answers will make up the meat of this guide. The potatoes are tips and links that will help you do things like register to vote and turn in your ballot, as well as learn about Washington's unique systems.

Crosscut adapted the Citizens Agenda style of election reporting this year, inviting our readers to take an active role in the process by telling us what they want the candidates to discuss as they compete for their votes.

If you want to read all our election coverage, find it here

What's at stake

This year, contests to lead King County government include a race for King County executive that’s more competitive than usual, as well as a contentious battle for a seat representing District 3 on the Eastside. In total, five of the King County Council’s nine seats are up for election this year.

The King County Elections website lists all the people running for office and a statement about why they are running. 

King County Executive

4 years

The job: The King County executive is in charge of the state’s largest county government. Dow Constantine has been the King County executive since 2009. The county executive is essentially the governor of the county, directly overseeing about a dozen county departments and holding the power to veto legislation passed by the King County Council. He proposes and oversees the county budget, hires the people leading county departments and directs county policy initiatives on issues such as homelessness, public safety and public health. Here's a story politics reporter Melissa Santos wrote about this year’s matchup.

Dow Constantine

Dow Constantine has been the King County executive for the past 12 years. He previously served in the state Legislature and on the King County Council. Before that, he worked as a lawyer. While the position of county executive is nonpartisan, Constantine identifies as a Democrat.

Joe Nguyen

Joe Nguyen was elected to the state Senate in 2018, representing the 34th Legislative District, which includes West Seattle, Burien, White Center and Vashon Island. In addition to his legislative job, he works in strategy and analytics at Microsoft. While the county executive job is nonpartisan, Nguyen serves in the state Senate as a Democrat. 

Metropolitan King County, Council District No. 1

4 years

The job: The King County Council is the county’s legislative body, tasked with passing new laws and the county budget. District 1 covers northern King County up to the Snohomish County border and includes northeast Seattle, Shoreline and Kenmore.

Sally Caverzan

Sally Caverzan worked several years for social service organizations in addition to working for the postal service and as a rideshare driver. She self-identifies as an environmental advocate and hasn’t held public office before.

Rod Dembowski

Rod Dembowski has served on the King County Council since 2013. Before that, he was an attorney working in private practice. 

Metropolitan King County Council, District No. 3

4 years

The job: The King County Council is the county’s legislative body, tasked with passing new laws and the county budget. District 3 covers parts of King County that lie east of Lake Sammamish, from Interstate 90 to the Snohomish County border.

Kathy Lambert

Kathy Lambert has been on the King County Council for 20 years, having first won election to the seat in 2001. Before that, she served in the state House of Representatives and worked as a teacher. While county council positions are now nonpartisan, Lambert previously has been elected as a Republican.

Sarah Perry

Sarah Perry owns a political consulting business. She has also worked as an executive at multiple nonprofits, in addition to working in fundraising at Seattle University. While county council positions are nonpartisan, Perry identifies as a Democrat. 

Metropolitan King County, Council District No. 5

4 years

The job: The King County Council is the county’s legislative body, tasked with passing new laws and the county budget. District 5 encompasses communities in west King County south of Seattle, including SeaTac, Normandy Park, Des Moines and most of Kent and Renton.

 

Shukri Olow

Shukri Olow is the youth development lead with King County’s Best Starts for Kids program, which supports children through health initiatives, training and mentoring programs. She previously worked in Seattle Public Schools and at the Seattle Housing Authority and Neighborhood House, a nonprofit that helps low-income people and refugees. She has a master’s in public administration and recently earned a doctorate in educational leadership from Seattle University. 

Dave Upthegrove

Dave Upthegrove joined the King County Council in 2014 after serving several terms in the state House of Representatives. Before his time in the Legislature, he worked seven years as a legislative aide in Olympia. He later served as community relations director for former King County Councilmember Julia Patterson. He studied environmental conservation in college and has a graduate certificate in energy policy.

Metropolitan King County Council, District No. 7

4 years

The job: The King County Council is the county’s legislative body, tasked with passing new laws and approving the county budget.  District 7 is in southwest King County and includes Federal Way and Auburn.

Pete von Reichbauer

Pete von Reichbauer has served on the King County Council for more than two decades. Before that, he served in the Legislature as a state senator. While county council positions are nonpartisan, von Reichbauer has run for office before as a Republican.

Dominique Torgerson

Dominique Torgerson lives in unincorporated King County and started a home-based brewery business there. Torgerson hasn’t held public office before, but previously worked in customer service jobs.

Metropolitan King County Council, District No. 9

4 years

The job: The King County Council is the county’s legislative body, responsible for passing new laws and approving the county’s budget. District 9 represents eastern King County south of Interstate 90, including the cities of Newcastle, Black Diamond, Covington and Enumclaw. The district also includes part of Renton.

Reagan Dunn

Reagan Dunn has served on the King County Council since 2005. He previously worked as a federal prosecutor. In 2012, Dunn ran for state attorney general as a Republican, losing to Democrat Bob Ferguson.

Kim-Khanh Van

Kim-Khanh Van has served on the Renton City Council for the past two years. She also works as an immigration attorney. 

Get the latest in election news

In the weeks leading up to each election, this newsletter gives context on the races, candidates and more. 

By subscribing, you agree to receive occasional membership emails from Crosscut/Cascade Public Media.

Who is involved in this round of election reporting at Crosscut?

News and politics editor Donna Gordon Blankinship and reporters David Kroman and Melissa Santos.

The questions we asked candidates came from you, the voters. 

When we debuted Crosscut’s Seattle and King County Voter Guide ahead of the August primary, we wanted local voters at the heart of it. That’s why we asked you for your questions about housing and homelessness, policing, public safety, taxes and urban planning, which we sent directly to the candidates who are seeking your vote.

After Seattle and King County voters narrowed the choices, Crosscut’s audience engagement team collected a second round of reader questions for candidates running for Seattle mayor, city council and city attorney. More than 200 people sent in their suggestions and we picked the most popular questions and themes and passed them along to the candidates. Their answers are featured in the issues section of this voter guide.

While we can’t tell you who to vote for, we want to get you the information you need to decide which candidate best aligns with your values.

 

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