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Tuesday, November 20, 2007 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Fisken concedes defeat in Port Commission race

Seattle Times staff reporter

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Port of Seattle Commissioner Alec Fisken conceded to challenger Bill Bryant on Monday in their seesawing election contest.

Fisken said he no longer had a chance of catching Bryant. "I can see no realistic possibility of closing the gap," he said.

By the end of counting Monday, Fisken trailed by 3,451 votes with roughly 3,700 ballots left to count.

In declaring victory, Bryant said voters want a Port Commission that would work more cooperatively to clean up Puget Sound and increase the Port's competitiveness. "I think those messages resonated with the people of King County," said Bryant, an international-trade consultant and first-time candidate.

Bryant's victory means both incumbent commissioners — Fisken and Bob Edwards — were ousted after a wave of bad publicity for the Port over a proposed severance package for former Port chief Mic Dinsmore and over revelations that Port police sent sexually explicit e-mails.

"It was an anti-incumbent vote, which is ironic for me," Fisken said.

The one-term incumbent had pushed to change the way the Port conducts business. He wanted to eliminate the Port's property-tax levy and charge shippers more to use Port facilities. He also protested the Port's frequent closed-door meetings and voted against a pay raise for Dinsmore last year.

Fisken, a policy analyst for the city of Seattle, handily beat Bryant in the Aug. 21 primary. But Bryant ran an aggressive campaign, contending that Fisken had a feisty style that fractured the commission and wasn't productive. Bryant raised $277,892 in contributions, almost double Fisken's total of $152,897.

In the other Port Commission race, Gael Tarleton, a first-time candidate who works at the University of Washington's Office of Global Affairs, defeated Edwards, who had served two terms.

King County elections officials predict turnout in the election will be almost 47 percent when results are certified Nov. 27.

Bob Young: 206-464-2174 or byoung@seattletimes.com

Copyright © 2007 The Seattle Times Company

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