Spokane City Councilman Mike Fagan has a clear opponent after the third day of ballot counting put a little more space between his challengers, Randy Ramos and Ben Krauss.
Ramos, a recruiter with Spokane Tribal College, leads Krauss by 26 votes.
When votes were first tallied Tuesday evening, just one vote separated the two, with Krauss in the lead. Yesterday, Ramos took a 16-vote lead, which was extended Thursday.
Out of the 2,958 votes for the two men, the difference amounts to slightly less than 1 percent, not enough to trigger an automatic recount. According to state law, a machine recount of the ballots occurs when fewer than 2,000 votes and less than half of 1 percent of the total number of votes separate the two candidates.
Fagan still leads the pack with 49 percent of the vote.
Officials at the Spokane County Elections Office said counting is virtually complete, and no more numbers will be released until the vote is certified Aug. 18.
Krauss, a crime analyst with the Spokane Police Department, said he will not contest the results or pay for a recount.
“I’m all about following the rules. If it doesn’t fall within the range specified, we’ll just go with it,” Krauss said. “We’re not changing the rules at the eleventh hour.”
Krauss said he filed to run after hearing comments made by Fagan when his colleagues on the council announced an effort to “close the gap” in gender pay at City Hall. At the time, Fagan said women should be paid as well as men, but added, “One would have already thought they were.”
“Men and women are not equal,” Fagan said. “Biologically, there are differences between men and women. Is a 150-pound woman (police officer) going to be able to control a 250-pound, out-of-control so-and-so?”
Krauss, who worked as a police officer before becoming an analyst, said Fagan’s comments were inappropriate.
“I filed because of Mike’s comments about women not having the requisite skills for police and fire. I did it for 12 years,” Krauss said about being a cop. “It’s not a question of being upset. If someone makes that comment about women, it’s just not right.”
Krauss said he was not voting for Fagan but was not ready to endorse Ramos.
Efforts to contact Ramos for comment were not successful.
In ballot counting Thursday for the race for state House in the 9th Legislative District, former Republican Franklin County Sheriff Richard Lathim extended his lead over former Democratic Othello City Councilman Kenneth Caylor. Incumbent Mary Dye easily topped both Lathim and Caylor in the race; the second-place finisher will challenge her in November.
Only Whitman County has a significant number of votes left to count in the race that covers six counties. Whitman is the county where Caylor had his best showing in early results.
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