Early vote totals from the Spokane County Auditor's office showed Jonathan Bingle in the lead for an open seat representing northeastern Spokane on the city council; Zack Zappone led his opponent in the race for a seat representing the city's northwestern neighborhoods.
Bingle, an events business owner, had 57% of the counted vote, according to figures released shortly after 8:00 p.m. Former Gonzaga University diversity, equity and inclusion staffer Naghmana Sherazi had 42%. Bingle and Sherazi know each other and had a friendly campaign, but they have different views on issues such as homelessness and the city's recently-adopted sustainability plan.
At an election celebration following the results, Bingle said he respected his opponent, and felt confident in the results.
“I’m very humbled, I’m so glad that I get to represent my childhood home, I’m just honored, there’s a lot of emotion right now," he said.
In the city's northwestern District 3, educator Zack Zappone had an early lead over restaurant owner Mike Lish. Their race was tighter than the Bingle-Sherazi match: Zappone has 52% of the vote to Lish's 48%.
Zappone celebrated his lead at an election party, noting the historic spending against him by outside groups in his race, saying he planned to stay focused on policy.
“When we focus on ideas and policies to lift up working people and middle-class families, Spokane wins, and our community wins, tonight families like yours and mine are on track to winning in Spokane," he said.
Lish said he was not yet ready to concede, noting City Council President Candidate Cindy Wendle had been ahead on election night in 2019, but lost her lead as more votes were counted in the following days.
“I feel strongly that my voters will be coming out, (those that) voted today, and those ballots will be counted tomorrow," he said.
Both Zappone and Lish were focused on addressing the housing crisis in Spokane with density, with Zappone also calling for more police accountability.
Betsy Wilkerson, running unopposed for her District 2 seat (South), had 94% of the vote. The balance was taken by write-in choices.
Organizations that backed the candidates reflected similar divisions over local issues. Sherazi and Zappone were supported by unions and were focused and a more housing-first approach to homelessness. Bingle and Lish garnered support from developers and real estate interests.