November 3, 2009 in City

Spokane voters lean toward change in 2 council districts

Snyder, Waldref, McLaughlin lead
By The Spokesman-Review
Colin Mulvany photo

Spokane City Councilwoman Nancy McLaughlin, left, checks early election results on Edie Streicher’s cell phone at the Bangkok Thai restaurant Tuesday evening, Nov. 3, 2009. McLaughlin easily defeated challenger Karen Kearney.
(Full-size photo)

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• Latest results: Washington | Idaho

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Voters in two of Spokane’s three City Council districts appear to want change.

The first results of Tuesday’s election showed Jon Snyder, publisher of Out There Monthly, with a 5 percentage point lead over incumbent Councilman Mike Allen for a seat representing south Spokane.

For the northeast Spokane’s open spot, Amber Waldref, the development director for The Lands Council, mounted an insurmountable lead over Mike Fagan, co-director of Voters Want More Choices, a group that works to place tax rules on the statewide ballot. Fagan was endorsed by outgoing City Councilman Al French, who is term limited.

“I want to be a presence that is thinking about the future and making decisions that will be good investments to our citizens,” Waldref said, from her victory party at David’s Pizza.

Incumbent Councilwoman Nancy McLaughlin won a resounding victory in her bid for re-election representing northwest Spokane.

McLaughlin’s dominant win over community volunteer Karen Kearney isn’t a surprise. In the August primary, she won all 43 precincts, a feat she repeated Tuesday.

“This kind of win is fantastic and humbling at the same time,” McLaughlin said.

While Snyder’s gap is sizeable, it’s not enough to ensure victory. Spokane County election officials estimated that one third of the final tally will be counted later this week.

Allen noted that conservative voters often have cast their votes late (though in the primary, it was Snyder who won later counts).

“Obviously, I would have like to be ahead, but I knew it would be close,” Allen said. “There’s still a lot of votes to be counted.”

In the city’s first election for its new Municipal Court, incumbent Tracy Staab easily held off a challenge from attorney Bryan Whitaker, who argued that city judges should live within city limits. Staab noted state law allows city judges to live elsewhere.

Spokane School Board

Two incumbents on the Spokane Public Schools Board of Directors had only slight leads in their battles to maintain their seats. Longtime incumbent Rocky Treppiedi, an assistant city attorney for the city of Spokane, is leading newcomer Laura Carder, a semi-retired computer programmer who says creationism should be taught in school, 52 percent to 48 percent.

Incumbent Jeff Bierman, a Gonzaga University professor appointed to the board in 2008, was leading teacher Heidi Olson, 51 percent to 49 percent.

Outlying cities

Voters in smaller cities outside Spokane gave split verdicts for their incumbent mayors.

Incumbent Cheney Mayor Allan Gainer lost big to former Mayor Tom Trulove. In Airway Heights, Mayor Matthew Pederson leads in the first count by only three votes over City Councilman Patrick Rushing. Medical Lake Mayor John Higgins and Deer Park Mayor Robert Whisman easily won re-election.

9th District representative

South and east of Spokane, Susan Fagan, of Pullman, leads Pat Hailey, of Mesa, for state representative in the 9th Legislative District. Fagan is a former aide to three U.S. senators in Idaho. Hailey is the widow of former state Rep. Steve Hailey, who died earlier this year.

Sara Leaming contributed to this report.

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