At the end of counting last night, many local Democrats said they suspected that votes from the city of Spokane were under-represented in Tuesday’s counts.
Since the city leans strongly in favor of Democrats, that would bode well for the party in later counts. But Spokane County Auditor Vicky Dalton said Wednesday that as of the end of counting on Tuesday, city votes were counted around the same rate as those from outside city limits.
That was true even in the 6th Legislative District, she said. That’s where Republican Michael Baumgartner is beating Democratic state Sen. Chris Marr, 56 percent to 44 percent. It’s also where Republican John Ahern was beating Democratic state Rep. John Driscoll, 54 percent to 46 percent.
In the Republican-leaning 4th District, 59 percent of the ballots received as of yesterday have been counted. In the Democratic-leaning 3rd, about 57 percent of the ballots have been counted. In the 6th, 54 percent have been counted.
Unlike Marr and probably Driscoll, County Commissioner Bonnie Mager and County Treasurer Skip Chilberg are within striking distance. Republican Al French is leading Mager with 50.8 percent of the vote. Republican Rob Chase is leading Skip Chilberg with 50.5 percent of the vote.
History, however, could pose a challenge to them. Late votes in the mail-voting era in Spokane County have trended Republican.
This year, the county received a bigger surge then normal on the final day, and it’s hard to know what that means. Democrats say that bulge may be partially the result of their late get-out-the-vote efforts on behalf of Sen. Patty Murray’s reelection bid.
Or, it could just be more conservative voters seeking change.