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Treppiedi’s lead in Spokane school board race vanishes as more ballots are counted

Nov. 4, 2015 Updated Wed., Nov. 4, 2015 at 9:33 p.m.

By Kip Hill and Eli Francovich The Spokesman-Review

The re-election bids of two incumbents faltered Wednesday as more ballots were counted in Spokane County.

Rocky Treppiedi trails Jerrall Haynes for a seat on the Spokane Public Schools’ board.

Haynes now leads Treppiedi by about 400 votes, after trailing by roughly 400 votes Tuesday night. There are about 9,000 uncounted ballots that will affect the tight race.

Across all of Spokane County, there are about 22,000 ballots left to count.

“We are surprised,” Haynes’ campaign manager Eric Frederick said Wednesday. “But it’s something we already knew. Spokane wanted change. Spokane wanted a fresh face on the school board.”

Haynes was unable to comment because he was working a night shift at Fairchild Air Force Base, where he is an airplane mechanic. Haynes has never held public office but believes he brings a different and needed perspective to the board.

“I think, right now, with the district being in such a transitional phase, it needs fresh blood,” Haynes said in an earlier interview. “Spokane is in dire need of a little diversity in leadership positions.”

Treppiedi first joined the school board in 1996. He’s been a vocal opponent of unions and championed the extended school day, which went into effect this year. He said he nearly didn’t run for the board this year; however, he felt the board needed his experience.

“I haven’t run much of campaign,” he said in an earlier interview. “I wish I had. It was the sort of thing where I should have. Time has gotten away from me. I’ve been busy being a full-time board member.”

Haynes is backed by the Spokane Education Association.

Paul Schneider, who beat Patricia Kienholz for the other board seat, also was backed by the SEA.

Spokane Valley Council Race

Incumbent Spokane Valley City Councilman Ben Wick saw his slim lead over challenger Sam Wood shrink after ballots were counted Wednesday.

Wick, who is seeking his second term on the council, holds a 111-vote lead over Wood out of more than 13,000 votes cast. The margin is less than the number of write-in votes (132) received in the election, meaning neither candidate has a majority of the ballots cast as of Wednesday night.

Wick held a 146-vote lead on election night.

The other two incumbents seeking re-election in Spokane Valley held onto much bigger leads in their races. Mayor Dean Grafos was running unopposed, and Arne Woodard held a lead of 52 percent to challenger and former Mayor Tom Towey’s 47 percent.

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