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City Council races remain undecided

Solberg, Engel have slight edge; Hageman wins seat

candidates by Jeff Switzer
With 98 percent of the absentee ballots counted, only one of the three Woodinville City Council races has been decided: Scott Hageman replaces incumbent Bob Dixon for Position 4.
    At last count, Hageman had 1,111 votes to Dixon's 1,008.
    As of Friday, Nov. 17, Position 2 has Barbara Solberg taking the lead over Walter Backstrom for the first time in the election by a scant five votes, 1,058 to 1,053. Backstrom had led Solberg by four votes on Nov. 13 when 78 percent of the absentee ballots had been counted.
    In the Position 6 race, incumbent Marsha Engel maintains her lead over Carol Bogue by only three votes: 1,038 to 1,035. Bogue had led Engel after the election, but fell behind Engel by 12 votes on Nov. 13 when 78 percent of the absentee ballots had been counted.
    The county estimates less than 200 absentees ballots remain to be counted for the entire county, and other ballots may still be trickling in this week.
    As for Woodinville votes, 804 of the 971 absentee ballots issued have been counted, though the remaining are not all expected to be returned.
    The next set of results are due out on the afternoon of Nov. 21, and will be the last races to be decided in the county.
    If the candidates are separated by less than one-half of one percent, a recount is automatic, though the recount does not take place until after the election is certified on Nov. 22, which means Woodinville may have to wait until after the Thanksgiving holiday.
    The recount will be done by machine and will take only a matter of minutes to determine who will be the next city councilmembers for Woodinville.
    Backstrom said he is extremely proud of the campaign he ran. "I talked about the issues only, and the other side ran a dirty campaign and resorted to dirty tactics," he said.
    Solberg remains optimistic in spite of the likelihood that the election may not be decided until three weeks after the general election. "This third election for the city is an historic one because it's such a tight race," Solberg said. "It's a great example of why people need to vote, because every vote counts."
    Carol Bogue, who is currently down by three votes, believes there's no sense being frustrated. "My family is really great and has helped me keep my sense of humor throughout the campaign, even through the things that weren't so nice," Bogue said.
    At the beginning of the City Council's Nov. 13 meeting, Bob Dixon conceded the election, congratulating Scott Hageman on his victory. "I offer my congratulations to Scott and pray that he will truly represent his constituency," Dixon said.
    "For myself, there is a sense of relief. I have spent entirely too little time fishing and hunting and have neglected my wife and my golf since I was elected to the council," he said. "The people have spoken and I am not their choice. Politics are not for me. I am dropping out and going to enjoy my wife and my retirement."
    Dixon asked that Hageman do three things during his tenure as council-member:
    "Do not let Tributary 87 down; keep the 100-foot setback and develop it as a salmon spawning stream.
    "Do not accept the Grace annexation unless the benefits outweigh the costs to the taxpayers. Demand to know the infrastructure and the projected income less the cost of service before you vote.
    "And create a Parks and Recreation Commission and see that money for parks is included in the bond issue for the Sorenson Center," Dixon said.