An analysis of election night returns in all five races by The Spokesman-Review shows three Spokane Valley council members who lost – Mike Munch, Ed Pace and J. Caleb Collier – struggled in most parts of the city.
Munch and Collier won narrow victories in some parts of Trentwood, and each picked up a handful of precincts throughout the city.
But with the exception of Pamela Haley, the only council member on the ballot certain to retain her seat, incumbents did poorly in Opportunity and many other south and central precincts in the Valley. Haleydefeated Angie Beem in all but about a half-dozen precincts, where Beem finished Tuesday night ahead by fewer than 25 votes.
In the race still to be decided, Mayor Rod Higgins edged ahead of challenger Chris Jackson with a lead of 29 votes as of Wednesday night’s count. The margin in most precincts is less than 25 votes for the leading candidate.
Higgins ran stronger in Trentwood and some other north Valley precincts than the other incumbents except Haley, and he is the only incumbent besides Haley with a significant lead in the Orchard Park and Edgecliff areas. But Jackson is leading in Opportunity and Dishman in a contest that might not be decided for a week or two.
The race for Spokane Valley Fire Commission Position 1 is also close, with Patrick Burch leading Stan Chalich by 156 votes as of Wednesday night. William Anderson led Larry Rider by 517 votes in the contest for Valley Fire Commission Position 5.
An automatic recount is triggered if the total votes for two candidates are separated by 0.5 percent or less, said Spokane County Auditor Vicky Dalton. If the difference is less than 0.25 percent, as well as fewer than 150 ballots, a recount by hand is automatically triggered, she said.