The gap between candidates for Spokane City Council president was cut by more than half after additional ballots were counted on Thursday, indicating the race will go down to the wire.
Newcomer Cindy Wendle still leads Councilman Breean Beggs, but the gap narrowed from 833 votes to 346, after the updated count was posted Thursday by the Spokane County Elections Office.
It was just one of several races in Spokane County that remained too close to call. Countywide, there remain 33,000 ballots left to count, slightly more than 20% of the ballots that have been returned.
Beggs described the updated results as very exciting. He estimated about 9,500 additional votes had been counted in the citywide race on Thursday, and that he won about 52.7% of them.
“If we stay at that percentage, we will overtake her by about 340 votes. No guarantees of whether the rate stays the same, goes higher or lower, but it means our candidacy is very much alive,” Beggs said.
Overall, Wendle now has 26,461 votes and Beggs has 26,115.
Wendle could not immediately be reached for comment Thursday evening.
The race between incumbent Councilwoman Karen Stratton and challenger Andy Rathbun also tightened Thursday, with 264 votes separating them.
Stratton remains ahead with a total of 9,439 votes to Rathbun’s 9,175.
Rathbun said he was encouraged by the results.
“You never know what’s going to happen,” he said. “We might be able to pull this off.”
Stratton criticized the record levels of spending in this election, saying outside donors gave the new slate of candidates an expanded platform.
“If you’ve got the money to reach out to people, it makes a big difference,” she said.
Incumbent Spokane Valley Councilwoman Brandi Peetz’s lead above her opponent Michelle Rasmussen increased by 53 votes Thursday. Peetz, who was four votes behind Tuesday, is now 256 votes ahead of Rasmussen.
Peetz, one of the more moderate members of the Spokane Valley City Council, is a former 911 dispatcher who was supported by unions and Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich.
Rasmussen currently works for Eastern Washington University. She is supported by the current mayor, and state Rep. Matt Shea has endorsed her.
Peetz had 8,691 votes to Rasmussen’s 8,435.
In the race for Spokane mayor, City Council President Ben Stuckart gained some ground but remained 1,584 votes behind Nadine Woodward, who has already declared victory and started to plan for her transition into office. Stuckart ended Wednesday’s count down by 1,883 votes. He had immediately conceded when initial results were posted on Tuesday.
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