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Rod Higgins, Pamela Haley top challengers in Spokane Valley City Council races

UPDATED: Tue., Aug. 1, 2017

Two incumbents led challengers in the races for two seats on the Spokane Valley City Council.

Results released in Tuesday’s primary election show Spokane Valley City Councilwoman Pamela Haley with 54 percent of the vote and a comfortable lead over challenger Angie Beem, who also will advance to the general election. Candidates Rob “Rocky” Samson and Ingemar Lloyd Woods were eliminated.

Haley was appointed to her seat least year.

“It completely validates what I am doing,” Haley said. “Maybe the people who say I was appointed to be some kind of parrot will stop saying that now.”

She plans to return to door belling as soon as possible, to solidify support among her constituents.

“It was such a weird race and people just kept filing against me,” Haley said. “I’m glad we can move on now.”

In the race for Position 1, Spokane Valley Mayor Rod Higgins faced two challengers in Tuesday’s primary election: Al Merkel and Christopher Jackson.

Higgins won 42 percent of the vote. That could give Jackson, who won 33 percent, a chance in the general election if he’s able to pick up most of the voters who chose third-place finisher Merkel.

Beem and Jackson are part of a younger group of candidates who ran to challenge the establishment.

“I’m pretty excited and a little surprised,” said Jackson, who’s the grandson of Spokane Valley community activist Sally Jackson. “We put in a lot of effort the last couple of weeks. A big thanks goes to my volunteers.”

Jackson said his team made 4,000 personal contacts either by phone or by door belling.

Beem, who was celebrating with friends at O’Doherty’s on Sprague Avenue, was also a little surprised.

“It’s a good surprise,” Beem said.

She said her team worked really hard to get to this point.

“But I have a lot of work ahead of me now.”

Higgins said he was pleased with the result though he had hoped for a bigger margin.

“This campaign has been a little strange, mostly because of the weather,” Higgins said. “It’s just been too darn hot to do much.”

Higgins speculated later counts could shift the results more in his favor.

“I’m pleased this part of the election is over so we can get down to more serious business now,” Higgins said.

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