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Stober concedes defeat to Sharp in Kent City Council race

Ken Sharp attends Kent Mayor Suzette Cooke
Ken Sharp attends Kent Mayor Suzette Cooke's Election Night party at Airways Brewery and Tap Room. Sharp defeated Bailey Stober to earn a Kent City Council seat.
— image credit: STEVE HUNTER, Kent Reporter

Bailey Stober conceded defeat to Ken Sharp in a tight race for the Kent City Council.

"This morning (Tuesday) our journey has ended as I have called Councilman-elect Sharp and congratulated him on his victory," Stober said in an email.

Sharp has 48.26 percent of the vote to 46.64 for Stober, according to King County Elections through Tuesday, Nov. 19. Sharp has 8,277 votes, Stober 7,998, a difference of 279. Sharp led by 264 votes after the first results on Nov. 5. Write-in votes were at 5.01 percent and 875 votes. Most of the write-in votes were for Debbie Raplee, a former Kent City councilwoman who entered the race late in the campaign.

"Over the past two weeks I have reflected and have never been more proud to be a part of something," said Stober, 22. "We were the underdogs from day one and faced two credible, tough challengers and guess what? We ended up in one of the closest races in city of Kent history. We came 279 votes away from electing the youngest elected official in the state and the youngest bi-racial elected official in the country – right here in Kent."

Sharp refuses to comment to the Kent Reporter.

Even with Sharp's win, he could later lose the council position if convicted of the felony theft charges against him.

Sharp, 66, who owns Minuteman Press in Kent, continued to Dec. 23 from Nov. 20 as he faces seven counts of first-degree theft for reportedly stealing $297,500 from his 93-year-old mother's bank account and putting the money into his account. A court date could be set at the hearing or attorneys could ask for more time to prepare the case.

If convicted as charged, Sharp faces a prison sentence of 22 to 29 months. Sharp has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Stober, a project analyst with the Washington State Office of Minority and Women's Business Enterprises, said he has launched the formation of Community Education PAC (CEPAC) to focus on recruiting and supporting diverse candidates to run for the Kent City Council and Kent School Board. To find out more, go to communitypac.org.

Stober said he also would work to help pass the Kent school levy in February.

Stober lost to incumbent Deborah Ranniger in a 2011 Kent City Council race in 2011. Ranniger had 66.9 percent to Stober's 32.6.

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