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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
News >  Spokane

Baker pulls ahead of Personett in assessor’s race

Two days after Democrat Judy Personett declared victory in the assessor’s race, incumbent Ralph Baker moved ahead of her Thursday by almost 200 votes.

It’s the second time this year that Baker has seen late counts go his way in a tight race.

In the Republican primary, elections officials initially predicted a recount would be necessary because Baker’s challenger, Spokane City Councilman Brad Stark, was behind by less than 100 votes. But Baker’s lead grew every day, and he eventually won by more than 1 percentage point.

Despite Baker’s strong showing in the past two days, the race is nowhere near over. An automatic recount will be done if final results show the candidates’ tallies within one-half percentage point. The current margin, which is less than one-fourth point, would force elections officials to conduct a recount by hand.

About 58,000 ballots are left to be counted. The next set of results will be released Saturday.

Auditor Vicky Dalton said it’s a bit unusual for a candidate to make up more than a percentage point after the first count.

“But there may have been something that occurred over the last weekend that motivated voters in one direction,” Dalton said.

In the primary, Baker was helped in the closing days by county Republican officials, who publicly questioned Stark’s GOP credentials.

Baker and Personett did not return calls seeking comment Thursday evening.

Dalton said no other race is close enough for results to change by late counting.

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