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Some contested local elections are very close


With more than a third of the ballots left to count Tuesday night, Chris Branch’s bid to take Sheila Kennedy’s District 1 seat on the Okanogan County Board of Commissioners was ahead 53 percent to 47 percent.

In Grant County, Superior Court Judge David Estudillo’s bid to keep his job was hanging on by a 1.42-percent margin.

Branch was leading 3,613 votes to Kennedy’s 3,199. The county Auditor’s Office said 7,427 ballots remain to be counted, plus ballots from drop boxes. The next count will occur Monday by 5 p.m.

Another close margin separates Andy Hover and Ashley Thrasher, who were vying for the Okanogan County Commission seat for District 2. Hover was leading, 3,616 to 3,141, or 53 to 46 percent.

Hover and Thrasher had bested current Commissioner Ray Campbell in the primary election to represent the western half of the county.

For the superior court position in Grant County, Estudillo, appointed by Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee over a year ago, nevertheless had gained significant endorsements from county Republicans.

Tuesday night he barely led longtime county lawyer Nick Wallace 10,751 to 10,448 votes, 50.71 to 49.29 percent. The county elections office estimated 2,000 ballots left to count.

Grant County Commissioner Richard Stevens prevailed over challenger Robert Dove 62 to 38 percent to represent District 1, including Grand Coulee and Electric City. Tom Taylor won in District 2 over Nathan Pick, 69-31 percent.

Douglas County Fire District 3’s Proposition 1 to lift a property tax levy lid for fire and emergency services was failing with a dead even vote, 30-30.

But Lincoln County’s proposition to boost sales and use tax, heavily promoted by County Sheriff Wade Magers, passed 58-42 percent.

In Legislative District 12, Rep. Brad Hawkins will move to the State Senate after beating Jon Wyss 56 to 44 percent.

District 7 Rep. Joel Kretz will keep his Position 2 seat in the state House. The Republican handed Libertarian Mike Foster his hat 79 to 21 percent.

Republican Marty McClendon, a Lake Roosevelt High School graduate and conservative talk radio host who visited his alma mater to talk with local students this fall, lost to Democrat Cyrus Habib for the state’s lieutenant governor seat, 56 to 44 percent.

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