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Balducci new mayor for Bellevue
After three rounds of voteing were held up by outgoing Bellevue Mayor Conrad Lee on Monday night, he reluctantly turned over his fourth ballot clearing Claudia Balducci to take the reins for the next two years.
The Bellevue City Council elected Balducci as mayor and Kevin Wallace as deputy mayor under a new voting method adopted in early December, where councilmembers vote for all nominees simultaneously using written ballots rather than voicing their choice on each individual candidate.
Balducci and Councilmember John Stokes tied for mayor in three rounds of voting with Lee apologizing to attendees at Monday's meeting for holding up the process, having nominated then-Deputy Mayor Jennifer Robertson and seeming to struggle with selecting either Balducci or Stokes. Lee was not nominated to be a candidate for mayor after serving in the position since 2012.
"I think it's a very excruciating process, but I've been doing it for 20 years," said Lee, "so I acknowledge its legitimacy and its challenges."
Lee nearly took back his fourth ballot, but then refrained, giving Balducci enough votes to take the mayoral position. Wallace was the only nominee for deputy mayor. Balducci said following the vote she appreciates the work council does for the city and will support continuing those efforts.
An attendee later commented he was surprised that Lee, a conservative, voted for the "far-left" candidate over Stokes, who he described as more moderate.