Incumbent Republican Mary Kuney will keep her seat on the Spokane County Commission after defeating fellow Republican Rob Chase.
Kuney secured more than 60 percent of the votes while Chase received 37 percent of votes in Tuesday night’s early returns.
It was the third time the two Republicans faced off for public office. Chase, the Spokane County treasurer, defeated Kuney in a re-election bid in 2014. Last year, Kuney was selected over Chase by Gov. Jay Inslee to fill a vacant seat on the board of commissioners.
Kuney – a certified public accountant, a former state auditor and the former Spokane County chief deputy auditor – worked for private accounting firms, launched two businesses and is president of the Hutton Settlement board of trustees.
Avista Utilities was a point of contention between the two candidates during the election, with Chase criticizing Kuney for accepting campaign donations from the Spokane-based utility company and being unwilling to challenge its potential sale to Hydro One Ltd., of Toronto.
Chase, who opposes the sale, cited concerns about foreign ownership of a local utility and rising rates, and sent a letter to the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission, telling the state to coordinate with Spokane County on the regulatory review of the $5.3 billion sale.
Chase’s efforts to block the sale are outside the legal purview of county commissioners, Kuney said.
Kuney’s goals are to increase efficiency within county departments as well as support public safety and economic development initiatives.