EVERETT, Wash. -- Challenger Mike Hope conceded the race for Snohomish County Executive to Aaron Reardon Tuesday evening after voters showed they were not swayed by an investigation into alleged misuse of funds by the incumbent.
As of 8:30 p.m., tallies showed Reardon (D) with 57 percent of the vote, and challenger Mike Hope (R) with 43 percent of the vote.
About half of the votes expected to be cast in the race have been counted. Despite the remaining uncounted ballots, Hope conceded to Reardon by 8:45 p.m.
"Our campaign fell just a little bit short," Hope told supporters at a party in Lynnwood. "I want to take my hat off to Aaron Reardon's campaign because they won this thing."
When Reardon entered a party for Snohomish County Democrats in Everett shortly before 9 p.m. Tuesday, he still had not heard from Hope.
"It's the greatest honor in the world," Reardon said. "If I get the opportunity to work for this community again for four more years, I will go to work with the same vigor and same passion that I have for the last eight [years]."
Last week, the Washington State Patrol revealed it opened a criminal investigation into Reardon, after an unnamed source presented some information to Dave Somers, Chairman of the Snohomish County Council. Somers forwarded that information to the county prosecutor, who contacted the State Patrol and requested an investigation.
Reardon felt his opponent's campaign was behind the allegations.
"I'm not your typical liberal Democrat," Reardon said Tuesday night. "If you hit me, I'm going to hit you back. I'm a working-class kid from Everett. I think Democrats lose when they sit on their hands. I don't sit on my hands."
The details of the accusations have not been made clear, and Reardon has denied any wrongdoing.
Hope denies that his campaign had anything to do with the allegations that led to the investigation.
"Quite honestly, this was a very negative campaign," Hope, a state representative, told KING 5 Tuesday night. "This is my fifth campaign and I've never seen anything so negative before."
Further ballot counts will be made over the coming days before the election is certified.
There will be more to come on KING5.com tonight as this story unfolds.
For complete election results, click here.