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Incumbent Keeps Job

Pierce County Executive Doug Sutherland has won re-election, beating Democratic challenger Wendell Brown by 2,216 votes, final election returns showed.

Brown, a County Council member, had led on election night Nov. 5. But Sutherland said last week he was sure he had won the contest after absentee ballots gave him a 621-vote lead.

Brown had hung on, waiting until Wednesday to call Sutherland and concede.

“In a race this close, you owe it to all the people who support you to hold on until the bitter end,” he said.

Both men said they would continue to work cooperatively, as they did after the 1992 election, when Sutherland beat Brown by less than 2 percent.

The margin of victory was less than 1 percent of the ballots cast. A third candidate, Dale Washam, received less than 8 percent of the vote.

During the campaign, Sutherland, 59, a Spokane native and former Tacoma mayor, stressed his work on economic development and the addition of 53 sheriff’s deputies during his first term.