It was a rough Election Night for incumbents on the Bainbridge Island City Council.
Two current councilmembers were denied a chance at another term, with only Councilman Kol Medina winning re-election to his North Ward seat.
The biggest surprise of the evening: well, there were two.
Michael Pollock cruised to victory against Sarah Blossom in the race for the District 6, South Ward seat.
Pollock, currently a commissioner for the Bainbridge Island Metropolitan Park & Recreation District, won with the largest margin of all among the four council races.
In the initial vote tally on Election Night, he was beating Blossom by nearly 14 points — Pollock had 56.8 percent of the vote, while Blossom stood at 42.9.
With 4,727 ballots counted (including 13 write-ins), Pollock had 2,684 votes to Blossom’s 2,030.
“I’m obviously quite happy,” Pollock said.
“This was a grassroots effort,” he added. “It didn’t involve a lot of money. It just involved getting out and talking to people and sticking to the issues. That seems to have been a successful recipe.”
When asked what determined the outcome of the race, Pollock said: “I just think we worked hard.”
“I have a lot of people that really supported me and wanted me to win and beat the streets and wave signs and talk to people. I have to believe that made a difference.”
It will be Pollock’s second go-round on the Bainbridge council. His last term ended more than 15 years ago, and he said things have changed much since then.
“It’s going to be interesting. I think that things have actually changed a lot since I was there around the turn of the century. Just the media, the way information is disseminated now.
“I think all that’s going to be a bit of an adjustment,” Pollock said.
The tone in politics is different, as well.
“People are less willing to sit down and compromise, it seems. There’s this national mood of polarization. That just doesn’t sit well with me. I really believe in working to bring people together and I think that’s going to be a challenge, even on the council.”
The deciding issue in Pollock’s race, and other council races, may have been the city council’s recent controversial decision on the city-owned Suzuki property, where a 4-3 majority on the council voted to allow up to 100 units on the land amid continuing concerns from neighbors about the density of the affordable-housing project and the traffic it would bring.
Medina voted against the Suzuki plan, and was re-elected in the North Ward. Schneider did not, and was on the losing end of the vote count in the Central Ward race. Blossom also voted with the majority for Suzuki, but lost to Pollock.
Pollock said the fact that Suzuki was a high density development bothered a lot of people.
“That didn’t have public support,” he said of the 100-unit plan.
Medina was winning a second term in the council’s District 2, with 54.5 percent of the vote over challenger Kevin Fetterly, who had 45.3 percent in the initial tally on Election Night.
“I’m so honored that my community has given me the opportunity to continue to serve for another four years!” Medina said in an email to the Review.
“We have important work underway that I am dedicated to finishing, from a climate action plan to affordable housing to a groundwater management plan and more,” he said.
“There will be some new faces on the council next year,” Medina added. “I will embrace them and give them the same support and encouragement that I gave our new councilmembers two years ago. We must quickly develop into a well-functioning team that continues to get work done for our community. That is my highest priority. We must continue to run the city well and not fall into dysfunction. I know we can do it!”
A total of 4,850 ballots were counted Tuesday in the North Ward race, with 2,643 going to Medina, and 2,197 going to Medina.
The candidates were split by 446 votes.
Closer by far was the race between incumbent Councilwoman Leslie Schneider and challenger Grayson William Wildsmith.
Wildsmith was in front Tuesday night by 61 votes — the night’s other big surprise and a big upset for the challenger, who, at 22, was taking his first shot after elected office just six months after graduating from Gonzaga University.
Wildsmith had 50.1 percent of all ballots cast, while Schneider collected 48.8 percent.
The actual vote count was 2,319 votes for Wildsmith, and 2,258 votes for Schneider.
There were also 54 write-in ballots in the first vote count. Cynthia Bellas was a declared write-in candidate in the race.
In the only race for an open seat, Kirsten Hytopolous was leading Anthony Oddo for the council’s at-large position.
Hytopoulos, a former Bainbridge mayor and councilwoman, had 52.8 percent of the vote, while Oddo had 46.9 percent.
A total of 4,826 ballots have been counted, with 2,548 going to Hytopoulos, and 2,263 going to Oddo.
The candidates were separated by 285 votes in the first tally.