TUMWATER - Tumwater Councilman and Mayor Pro Tem Pete Kmet led fellow Councilman Neil McClanahan Tuesday night in the race to be Tumwater's next mayor.
Kmet, an 18-year veteran of the council, said he was “thrilled” with the results, especially because he had been outspent in the campaign by McClanahan.
“More than anything, I think that it’s recognition of the hard work I’ve done over the years on the Tumwater City Council.”
McClanahan, who was elected to the council in 2004, thought there might be enough momentum in his campaign to overcome the 325 vote difference that separated him and Kmet.
“A lot more votes have not been tallied and have come in today or by the postmark date,” he said. “A lot of those votes we’re feeling pretty confident will go our way. … The main push for us has been in the past two weeks.”
The council will appoint the winner’s replacement. The councilman who is not elected to replace longtime mayor Ralph Osgood will continue in his seat.
Both said the race would not adversely affect their working relationship.
“My sense of this is that this has been a very honorable and professional race between the two of us,” McClanahan said. “Pete and I, I have the utmost respect for him, and I think we will work together quite well in whatever capacity that might be.”
“We worked on public works committee together during this whole campaign. We both ran clean campaigns,” Kmet said. “I’m looking forward to working with Neil. We have gotten to know each other really well over the last few months.”
In May, McClanahan was arrested on suspicion of driving while intoxicated, but both said that rarely came up.
“People were going by our respective records,” Kmet said.