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In an unsurprising move, former County Commissioner Bonnie Mager endorsed Democrat Mary Lou Johnson on Tuesday in her bid to unseat GOP incumbent Al French in the November election.
Mager, who finished third in the August primary as an independent, served as a Democrat on the commission from 2006 to 2010. She was unseated by French, a former Spokane City Council member, in the 2010 general election.
Johnson's campaign announced the endorsement in an email Tuesday morning. The campaign said Mager had encouraged her supporters to back Johnson in the November general election.
The incumbent defeated his Democratic challenger by just 222 votes in the primary, but Mager carried an additional 8,000 ballots and the general election is open to voters countywide while the primary included only ballots cast in the county's third district. In the primary, fewer than 30,000 votes were cast; that number will likely quintuple in the general election.
To read the rest of this item, go inside the blog.
Tim Connor's recent post "The French Connection" is a compelling piece of political intrigue, alledging Al French used the Spokane County Assessor's office against Bonnie Mager in the nasty race for County Commissioner's last fall.
If you recall, Mager said French broke the state's electioneering law by sponsoring email distributions that contained falses statements about property tax delinquency on grazing land that she and her husband own adjacent to their home near Cheney. The County Assessor's office provided these records to French without delay - and didn't they didn't exist before he filed his request.
In 2005, when Mager was campaigning against made a public records request about the hiring of Stephen Harris, the third son of then-County Commissioner Phil Harris to have been given a job by Spokane County during Harris's terms on the board. She wanted to know if the decision to hire the commissioner's son had been made before the job was even advertised. The county didn't offer the records.
But what’s more important is the contrast between how her request was treated with how French’s request was treated. Mager had to wait more than a month to receive a copy of the record. French got it right away, within a few hours after he requested it. Indeed, it appears the document would not even have been created had he not asked for it.
The nail biter is over. Last night County Commissioner Bonnie Mager conceded to former Spokane City Councilman Al French. In yesterday’s ballot counting, French opened ahead with 2, 752 votes, making one of the most contested local races a done deal. Below is a statement from Mager:
As there are only 750 votes left to count, it’s time to bring our campaign to a close so that we can move forward from here.
I am so very grateful for the opportunity to serve as your Spokane County Commissioner. I’ve been honored to meet and help members of our community and make a difference where I could.
Though I will not be returning for the upcoming term, I am proud of the things I accomplished while in office - with your feedback and support - and in particular the nearly 3 million dollars saved as a direct result of my leadership and efforts.
In an e-mail to supporters on Friday, Spokane County commissioner candidate Steve Salvatori said a recount is likely in the primary battle for commissioner.
But he added that he doesn’t expect to be in the running.
“We made a valiant comeback effort on the Thursday ballot count, reducing our gap from 4 percent to 2 percent. But our hat is off to Jeff Holy, who did even better, and is now within 150 votes of Al French (we are 500 votes back). If the final ballots which will be counted Monday, hold true to their ratios from Thursday, Jeff will catch Al, and we will end up 300 – 400 votes behind. It looks like Jeff and Al may end up so close, that it may trigger a recount,” said Salvatori’s message to supporters.
The county election’s office will count almost all of the remaining estimated 10,000 ballots today. About 3,600 of those are in the county’s 3rd County Commissioner District where French, Holy and Salvatori were on the ballot along with Democratic incumbent Bonnie Mager, who easily won the primary and a spot on the November ballot.
French’s lead for second place over Holy fell from 434 to 158 from the first count on Tuesday to the most recent tally on Thursday.
To trigger a recount, French’s and Holy’s tallies must be within .5 percent of each other without considering the tallies of other candidates, said Spokane County Auditor Vicky Dalton. As of Friday, 9,172 people had voted for either French of Holy. French had 4,665 of those votes, giving him 50.9 percent of the ballot that voted for him or Holy. Since Holy has only 49.1 percent of those votes, the gap currently is well above the .5 percent required for a recount.
If the gap falls below .25 percent, the ballots must be counted by hand.
Here’s a map showing the areas won by the GOP candidates in the primary.
To read Salvatori’s full message keep reading this entry.