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Sunday, November 17, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Tight Spokane races stay that way after more votes are counted, remain too close to call

UPDATED: Wed., Nov. 6, 2019

Spokane City Councilwoman Karen Stratton views election results with Gene Brake, left, and Chris Wirght, right, on Tuesday at the Lucky You Lounge. In her hotly contested bid for reelection to represent the northwest district, Stratton maintained her lead over challenger Andy Rathbun after more votes were tallied Wednesday. Other election results in the city of Spokane offered no immediate change to the picture that emerged on Tuesday night. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)
Spokane City Councilwoman Karen Stratton views election results with Gene Brake, left, and Chris Wirght, right, on Tuesday at the Lucky You Lounge. In her hotly contested bid for reelection to represent the northwest district, Stratton maintained her lead over challenger Andy Rathbun after more votes were tallied Wednesday. Other election results in the city of Spokane offered no immediate change to the picture that emerged on Tuesday night. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)

The first update to election results in the city of Spokane offered no immediate change to the picture that emerged on Tuesday night.

A new tally issued by the Spokane County Elections Office on Wednesday afternoon showed Nadine Woodward remains ahead in the race for mayor over City Council President Ben Stuckart.

There are 54,000 votes yet to be counted countywide, representing about one-third of the total cast in this year’s election.

On Tuesday, 1,831 votes separated Stuckart and Woodward. After additional ballots were counted on Wednesday, that gap between the two candidates had widened slightly to 1,883 votes.

Though the update actually represented a modest improvement in terms of percentage for Stuckart, he remains behind by more than four percentage points. Stuckart opted not to wait out additional ballot counting and immediately conceded the race to Woodward on Tuesday night.

The races for City Council president, District 1 and District 2 were all too close to definitively call after the initial numbers were released on Tuesday night. They remained that way on Wednesday.

In a tight race for Spokane City Council President, political newcomer Cindy Wendle held her lead over Councilman Breean Beggs, who represents the South Hill and will continue to do so if he loses his bid for the council’s top post.

Wendle leads Beggs by 21,946 votes to 21,113, and the gap between them grew from 784 votes to 833 after Wednesday’s update.

Beggs said he would wait at least until Thursday’s update before conceding the race, but acknowledged that Wednesday’s results showed “pretty much the same trend” and that the “window is definitely narrowing.”

In her hotly contested bid for re-election to represent the northwest district, Councilwoman Karen Stratton maintained her lead over challenger Andy Rathbun, but Wednesday’s update offered Rathbun a glimmer of hope.

Election night totals showed Stratton with 6,780 votes to Rathbun’s 6,380. On Wednesday, those figures were updated to show Stratton with 7,665 votes and Rathbun with 7,292. The difference between them narrowed from 400 votes to 373.

Rathbun remains hopeful, and noted his numbers also improved after initial votes were tallied in the primary election.

“We just need to see how those votes come in,” Rathbun said.

Tim Benn, a candidate for district 1, trailed Michael Cathcart in the race to represent northeast Spokane on the City Council by more than 9 percentage points after election night. His deficit grew from 708 votes on election night to 730 votes on Wednesday. He now trails Cathcart 4,568 votes to 3,838.

Benn acknowledged that Wednesday’s updates showed similar trends to Tuesday’s results.

“It doesn’t look good, but it is what it is,” Benn said.

After about 14,000 more ballots arrived by mail on Wednesday morning, election officials said that there have been 154,795 ballots received countywide. They counted more than 15,000 additional ballots on Tuesday, and still have 54,000 to count on Thursday and Friday.

In total, officials have counted 100,381 ballots in Spokane County, and voter turnout stands at about 30%. More ballots could trickle in on Thursday morning that were postmarked by the deadline, but the bulk have already been returned.

Mike McLaughlin, elections manager at the Spokane County Elections Office, said on Wednesday that ballots are still being processed. Updated figures will be released daily at about 5 p.m., but McLaughlin said the bulk of counting will be done on Thursday and Friday.

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