Incumbent Urquhart trails challenger for King County sheriff | KUOW News and Information

Incumbent Urquhart trails challenger for King County sheriff

Nov 8, 2017

The King County sheriff's race has been a bitter one.

And the first results show challenger Mitzi Johanknecht leading incumbent John Urquhart with roughly 52 percent of the vote.

Johanknecht — a veteran in the Sheriff's Office — says she'll keep an eye on results over the coming days, but she's excited by her early lead.

"I've been prepared by 33 years of law enforcement time in the community so I am prepared to take over if the votes and the trends continue," Johanknecht said.

At an election night party at the Smith Tower in downtown Seattle, Urquhart said he's disappointed by the early results but he isn't conceding.

"There's an awful lot of ballots that still need to be counted,” he said. “So, you know, never say die."

Urquhart's campaign has been dogged by allegations that he sexually abused two former staff members. He vigorously denies the accusations. On election night, he refused to speak about them — or about their impact on his run for re-election.

Victim advocates had slammed Urquhart over his aggressive response to the allegations, and late in the campaign, some local officials and organizations pulled their endorsements of him. But Urquhart says he has no regrets about how he ran his campaign.

"I'm going to wake up in the morning and I'm going to look in the mirror,” he said, “and I'm going to be proud of the job that I did as sheriff and I'm going to be proud of the race that I ran."

Urquhart, who has been sheriff since 2012, spent nearly $300,000 of his own money on the race. Johanknecht spent $63,000 of her own.

The next batch of election results will come in later Wednesday afternoon.