Legislative races tighten a bit
Updated 11:45 p.m.
State Sen. Chris Marr picked up 4 percentage points in the second count late tonight, but still trails significantly. He said he believes there are more votes left to count in Democratic-leaning areas than outside city limits. “If you see that margin tighten up in the next ballot count, than it’s a different race,” he said.
Republican John Ahern led Democratic state Rep. John Driscoll in the 6th District’s House race by about 2,000 votes, but Driscoll picked up 9 percentage points with the second count.
Ahern said he was confident he was going back to Olympia, where he’d push a pro-business, pro-senior-citizen agenda and look to extend tax breaks for new businesses.
Marr and Driscoll both said they believe later counts will favor them as more ballots are tallied from the city. “That’s why I’m not going to overreact,” Marr said.
County Commissioner Bonnie Mager closed the gap with Republican challenger Al French a bit, picking up 1.5 percentage points, and now trails by about 1,000 votes.
More Spokane County ballots counted
Updated 10:36 p.m.
Spokane County has counted another 10,108 ballots since 8:30 p.m., bringing the total number of ballots to 75,676. There’s still about 100,000 ballots left to count, and work will resume tomorrow morning. Elections officials estimate they’ll be through the bulk of the ballots by Saturday, and should have them all counted by the middle of next week. Results will be released before 5 p.m. each day.
At this point, 30,000 ballots from city voters have been tabulated, and that’s only 40 percent of city votes cast.
b>Mager prepared for ‘nail biter’
Updated 10:36 p.m.
Spokane County Commissioner Bonnie Mager said early numbers show that the results may not be known for days. “It looks like it’s going to be a nail biter,” she said.
Green schools measure rejected
Updated 10:27 p.m.
SEATTLE (AP) — A statewide referendum authorizing bonds for school energy retrofits has been defeated.
Nearly 57 percent of voters were rejecting Referendum 52 with 1.37 million votes counted tonight. About 2.4 million votes are expected statewide.
The green schools measure had support in King and Jefferson counties but was losing in most other Washington counties.
Drop box bounty
Updated 10:19 p.m.
Spokane County Elections supervisor Mike McLaughlin says they collected 30,000 ballots from area drop boxes today, surpassing the number collected on Election Day 2008. In that election, which featured a presidential race, 27,000 ballots were left at drop boxes on the final day of voting.
McLaughlin also added that the next count expected to be released shortly may include another 10,000 ballots, drawn most from city precincts. It means, however, than there will be another 120,000 ballots left to be counted.
Murray holds slim lead
Updated 10:08 p.m.
OLYMPIA (AP) — Democratic U.S. Sen. Patty Murray took a slim lead over Republican challenger Dino Rossi in tonight’s early vote returns, raising the possibility of an extended vote count in Washington’s vote-by-mail election.
Murray had about 51 percent of the vote to Rossi’s 49 percent in unofficial returns. More than half of the expected vote had been counted Tuesday night, but it can take several days to receive and tally all the ballots working their way through the mail.
McMoRo plus 1
Updated 10:01 p.m.
A very pregnant, and very happy Cathy McMorris Rodgers took the stage at the Davenport Hotel just now to thank voters for sending her back to Washington, D.C. She easily defeated Democratic challenger Darryl Romeyn in the 5th District for a fourth term in Congress. Voters believe in change, she said, but they also believe in balance. She sees this election as being about reestablishing checks and balances in government, and the people reasserting their control.
Darryl Romeyn, meanwhile, says he’s going to wait for more counting before conceding, although he admits, “That’s a heck of a margin to close.”
He’s currently got 39 percent to McMorris Rodgers’ 61 percent.
Rockin’ the oldies
Updated 9:54 p.m.
Reporter John Stucke says the Republican party at The Davenport Hotel is losing a bit of steam as the attendees wait for the appearance of incumbent Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers. They’re spinning Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin” and Bon Jovi’s “Livin on a Prayer.”
Tucker leads Malone
Updated 9:42 p.m.
Democratic Spokane County Prosecutor candidate Frank Malone trails incumbent Republican Steve Tucker with 46 percent of the vote, compared with Tucker’s 54 percent. Malone told reporter Jonathan Brunt, “The early results are based on a partial return of the county.”
Meanwhile, the county says it will have updated numbers at 10:30 p.m.
Both liquor initiatives failing
Updated 9:38 p.m.
OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — Two competing proposals that would get Washington state out of the business of selling hard alcohol are losing in early returns.
With about 60 percent of the expected vote counted in unofficial returns Tuesday night, about 52 percent of people were voting against Initiative 1100, and 63 percent were voting against Initiative 1105.
Both would abolish the state’s current monopoly on liquor distribution and sales in favor of private businesses.
I-1100 would allow retailers to buy beer, wine and spirits directly from manufacturers instead of going through distributors.
I-1105 would keep in place state laws that protect beer and wine distributors.
Marr believes time is on his side
From reporter Jonathan Brunt: Chris Marr said he believes later counts could favor him as more votes are counted in the city: “That’s why I’m not going to overreact.”
Voters repeal new taxes on candy, soda and water
Updated 9:16 p.m.
OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — Voters repeal Legislature-passed taxes on candy, soda, bottled water in Wash. state.
Wash. judges get more authority to restrict bail
Updated 9:14 p.m.
SEATTLE (AP) — Washington voters overwhelmingly decided tonight to give judges more power to deny a suspect bail, after last year’s brutal slaying of four Lakewood police officers by a gunman who had recently been released.
The Legislature approved the measure in the spring, but it is a constitutional amendment and must be approved by voters to be enacted. It was passing with nearly 86 percent of the vote tonight.
Previously, the only charge for which bail could be denied was aggravated murder. The amendment allows state judges to deny bail when a suspect is charged with any crime carrying a possible life sentence and poses a danger to the community.
Maurice Clemmons had posted bail less than a week before he killed the four Lakewood officers last November.
Workers’ comp initiative rejected
Updated 9:11 p.m.
SEATTLE (AP) — Washington voters have rejected an initiative that would have privatized workers’ compensation insurance.
With more than half of the expected vote counted in tonight’s election, Initiative 1082 was being defeated by more than 16 points, with 58 percent of voters saying no on the ballot.
I-1082 was a business-backed initiative that sought to take away the state monopoly on workers’ compensation insurance.
The campaign for Initiative 1082 is part of a long-running political battle between the powerful Building Industry Association of Washington and the state Department of Labor and Industries, which runs the state’s workers’ comp system.
Proposition 1 backers downbeat
Updated 9:04 p.m.
From reporter Tom Sowa, via Twitter: Spokesman Ben Stuckart says the Spokane children’s development fund, appears unlikely to pass. The first count shows 65 percent in Spokane are against.
Income tax initiative failing
Updated 8:54 p.m.
Statewide voters are rejecting the “Bill Gates Senior” state income tax measure, I-1098, by 65 percent to 35 percent.
Updated 8:41 p.m.
Spokane County elections officials say the state’s servers are still overwhelmed, so they are posting county ballot counts at the Spokane County website: http://www.spokanecounty.org/.
6th Legislative District
Updated 8:39 p.m.
Spokane County elections office reports that most of the ballots counted in the 6th Legislative District Senate race are from voters outside Spokane city limits. Democratic strategists believe that’s why the early results show Marr trailing Baumgartner at this point.
Early results for Spokane County
Updated at 8:28 p.m.
Results from 37 percent of expected total ballots counted:
District Court Judge
Computers are overwhelmed
Updated at 8:28 p.m.
The Washington Secretary of State’s servers are overwhelmed preventing Spokane County from posting results. Vicki Dalton says they’ve counted 65,568 ballots and they expect to receive 175,000 ballots in this election, which means about 37 percent of the expected total has been counted. They had hoped to count about 90,000 tonight but it’s going more slowly than expected and they may only get through another 5,000.
Updated at 8:23 p.m.
Republicans are dominating in early results in Spokane County, with Michael Baumgartner leading incumbent Chris Marr in the state Senate’s sixth legislative district.