A count of absentee ballots in the primary election left Spokane city races unchanged and gave candidates in two Airway Heights races narrow margins of victory.
Steve Thompson, a leader in the local Reform Party, maintained his second-place position in the race for Spokane City Council Position 3. He edged Holly Ann O’Connell by about 200 votes, and will face incumbent Councilwoman Phyllis Holmes in the Nov. 4 general election.
Holmes’ vote total stands at 10,275, or 44.3 percent of the vote, while Thompson collected 3,863 votes for 16.6 percent.
O’Connell received 3,677 votes, Bob Schroeder 3,162 and Charles Greenwood 2,207.
In other Spokane city races, incumbent Mayor Jack Geraghty collected 8,129 votes and will face civic activist John Talbott, who received 6,987. Former Councilman Rob Higgins, who collected 8,811 votes, will face former gubernatorial district manager Judith Gilmore, who had 6,413 votes, for Council Position 2.
In Airway Heights, two races that ended in dead heats on election night are now untied. But the races are still close enough that a recount will be required in one, and candidates can seek one in the other.
Incumbent Don Harmon was on top of the mayor’s race with 118 votes, but a single vote separates the second-and third-place finisher. After Tuesday’s count, Brian M. Grady has 93 votes, and Verne Patten has 92.
That’s a difference of four-tenths of 1 percent, and below the limit of one-half of 1 percent that triggers a recount under state law.
In the race for Airway Heights City Council Position 3, which also was tied on election night, Gerry Gadberry now has 68 votes and Barbara Cochran has 66 votes.
That’s a difference of six-tenths of 1 percent, and County Elections Supervisor Tom Wilbur said a recount is not required by law. The candidates do have the option to request - and pay for - a recount, he said.
The recount will take place next week after the primary results have been certified on Friday by Wilbur. About 30 ballots must still be examined by the canvassing board on Thursday afternoon, and any absentee ballot that comes in before that will also be added to the count.
The race for a Riverside School Board post also will require a recount.
Janet Hansen and Patricia Blair are tied for first in that three-way race with 263 votes each. If that count remains after the recount, the elections office will have to find a way to break the tie.
Although the candidates will both advance to the general election, state law says the winner of the primary is listed first on the general election ballot.
Wilbur said he didn’t know yet how the tie would be broken.
“We’ve never had that happen before,” he said.
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