State Supreme Court Justice Richard Sanders fell further behind challenger Charlie Wiggins on Friday and acknowledged he was unlikely to turn the campaign around.
Wiggins got a boost in his vote total from ballots tabulated in King County, and has a lead of about 5,700 votes going into the weekend.
About 90,000 ballots remain to be counted around the state, but of those, more than half – an estimated 50,000 – are in King County, where Wiggins has consistently carried about 58 percent of the vote.
In a statement e-mailed to supporters and obtained by the Associated Press, Sanders said he was apparently “coming to the end of the campaign trail.” He said he called Wiggins earlier in the week with congratulations. He also said the former appellate court judge was a fine lawyer who deserves to be on the court, and that it has been a great honor to serve on the state’s highest court.
Sanders was first elected in 1995, and re-elected twice since. An outspoken judge on and off the bench, he stepped into controversy this fall when suggesting African-Americans are in much higher percentage of the prison population than the state in general because they “have a crime problem.”
Spokane County tabulated 7,880 ballots on Friday, but none of the local contests showed any signs of changing.
Across Washington, a few legislative races still remain in doubt. The closest race is in Pierce County’s 25th Legislative District, where Republican challenger Hans Zeiger is 28 votes ahead of Democratic Rep. Dawn Morrell.
Three other legislative races have candidates separated by fewer than 400 votes.