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Originally published August 6, 2013 at 9:56 PM | Page modified August 6, 2013 at 11:30 PM

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Bellevue Councilmember Davidson fighting for his political life

Bellevue Parks Board Chair Lynne Robinson took a huge lead over longtime Bellevue City Councilmember Don Davidson and a third, big-spending candidate, Vandana Slatter, in a three-way council race.

Seattle Times staff reporter

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Lynne Robinson took a huge lead in Tuesday results over longtime Bellevue City Councilmember Don Davidson and big-spending candidate Vandana Slatter in a three-way council race.

Slatter, a political newcomer, held a narrow lead over Davidson, whose campaign suffered from a slow start because of illness.

Robinson, chair of the Bellevue Parks Board, won 48 percent of the vote, followed by Slatter with 26 percent and Davidson with 25 percent.

In the other City Council primary, incumbent Kevin Wallace and East Bellevue Community Council Chair Steve Kasner cruised to decisive victories over poorly funded candidates Bill Hirt and Jeffrey Talada.

Wallace, a commercial real-estate executive seeking a second council term, took 46 percent of the vote to Kasner’s 42 percent.

The race for Davidson’s seat was tough to predict. Davidson has name recognition from his many years on the council, Robinson has a long history of civic involvement, and Slatter touted her knowledge of the biotech industry and ran the best-funded primary campaign in city history.

Slatter put $72,000 of her own money into her $121,000 campaign, outstripping Robinson’s $53,000 and Davidson’s $30,000 campaigns.

The election will determine whether conservatives continue to control the council as it takes up downtown development regulations and funding of roads to support redevelopment of the Bel-Red Corridor.

Robinson said her volunteer work in schools and her years on the city Parks Board and Network on Aging were important to voters.

“I think that people see somebody who genuinely cares about the community and is doing this to bring positive change to the council,” she said.

Davidson said he was surprised he didn’t have a stronger showing but was hopeful the vote count would trend his way in the coming days. “There’s plenty of time, there are a lot more votes to be counted,” he said.

Slatter’s campaign consultant, Lisa MacLean, said many of the ballots counted Tuesday were cast by voters who had their minds made up from the beginning. “I definitely expect the race to tighten with the later vote counts,” she said.

Davidson, who missed about three months of council meetings and campaigning because of health problems, missed a King County deadline to have his statement and photo included in the Voters’ Pamphlet.

Keith Ervin: 206-464-2105 or kervin@seattletimes.com

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