Update: As of 8:30 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 8, King County Elections reported that Mark Mullet holds a lead over Brad Toft with 53.76 percent of the vote to Toft's 46.08 percent. So far, a little more than 80 percent of the ballots for the race have been returned and verified by King County. The next results update is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 9.
Republican Brad Toft, who currently stands about 7 points behind Democratic opponent Mark Mullet in the Washington 5th District Senate race, said with the mail-in voting system in Washington, he believes there are too many ballots uncounted yet for him to concede the race to Mullet. Even before King County updated results showed little change from yesterday, with Mullet at 53.83 percent of the vote compared with Toft's 46.02 percent, Toft said he thinks it could be several more days before enough votes are in to call the race. As of this afternoon, Nov. 8, 76.57 percent of the ballots had been verified as received by King County.
"It’s just too early to call still," Toft said, adding that no matter what happens he has enjoyed the campaign and feels good about the effort he and his supporters have put in over the past year--he held his first campaign fundraising effort last November.
"I think they’d like to see some more ballots come in," he said of supporters. He said his camp can feel good about running a clean campaign.
"The money we spent focused on the issues. I made a commitment openly in my campaign and every group that supported me focused on that commitment and the issues, and given I can’t even talk to them," Toft said. He said he has been offended by some campaign mailers from the other side using photoshopped images of him in a jail cell or wearing a "wife-beater" type tank top, and denied that any mailings in support of him attacked Mullet personally.
"I think we have a stack of every piece of mail that came out; I don’t recall any piece of mail that criticized mark in his personal life or had Photoshopped images of Mark Mullet."
Toft also said that his commitment has been to respond personally to anyone who came to him with a complaint about the campaign's messages.
Toft said he doesn't consider the independent groups that support or oppose candidates to be the problem, but rather Washingotn Supreme Court Decisions ruling that any political speech, no matter how jarring or alarming, referring to Supreme Court decisions such as one that struck down a law forbidding candidates from intentionally lying about their opponents.
Despite the arduous campaign, Toft said he enjoyed the year-long effort and will continue to serve in local positions, such as president of his local Rotary Club and as a Chamber of Commerce board member.
"I’ve enjoyed campaigning, and as rough as it was, public service is something that is very worthwhile. After going through all this, I feel like we ran a good campaign," Toft said, adding that his opposition extended beyond his opponent. "You could argue I had three different opponents in this race--Mark Mullet, Cheryl Pflug, and my own party."
"Maybe it was biting off more than I could chew, but come election day I was completely at peace," Toft said. He said that regardless of the ultimate outcome as the final votes come in, he's looking forward to taking care of pressing personal family issues now, as well as making up for some of the birthdays and family time he has missed over the past year.