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Sunday, November 17, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Spokane

Spokane council president race now even tighter, recount possible; disputed council races still close

UPDATED: Fri., Nov. 8, 2019

City Council President candidates Breean Beggs and Cindy Wendle shake hands during Pints and Politics: The Spokesman-Review’s Northwest Passages Forum and KHQ on  Oct. 15 at the Bing Crosby Theater. Their race narrowed Friday and could be headed for a recount. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)
City Council President candidates Breean Beggs and Cindy Wendle shake hands during Pints and Politics: The Spokesman-Review’s Northwest Passages Forum and KHQ on Oct. 15 at the Bing Crosby Theater. Their race narrowed Friday and could be headed for a recount. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)
By Rebecca White and Adam Shanks The Spokesman-Review

The already tight race for Spokane City Council president narrowed further on Friday and could be heading toward an automatic recount.

Cindy Wendle is holding onto her lead over Breean Beggs by just 145 votes after the Spokane County Elections Office posted the latest tally. Friday’s update included more than 8,000 additional ballots in the council president’s race.

Beggs now has 30,438 votes to Wendle’s 30,583.

The race remains too close to call, as an estimated 9,600 votes remain to be counted countywide, according to election officials. Monday is a holiday, so the next update will be on Tuesday.

In nonstatewide races in Washington, a machine recount is automatically triggered if the final result shows two candidates within 2,000 votes and separated by less than 0.5 percentage points of the total votes cast for both candidates. As of Friday, the race for council president meets both conditions.

If a race is down to fewer than 150 votes and 0.25 percentage points or fewer separate the two candidates, election officials will be tasked with conducting a manual ballot recount.

Even if the results fall outside those parameters, candidates can request a recount.

Beggs trailed on election night and slightly more after the first updated count on Wednesday. But Thursday brought good news to the Beggs campaign, cutting his deficit by more than half. After Thursday, he trailed by 346 votes. By after Friday’s count, he trailed by only 145.

Wendle and Beggs could not be reached for comment on Friday.

The race between Councilwoman Karen Stratton and challenger Andy Rathbun to represent District 3 on the Spokane City Council also remained close.

Rathbun, the more conservative of the two candidates, has continued to make ground on Stratton in the ballot-counting conducted after Election Day. As of Thursday, Stratton had 9,439 votes to Rathbun’s 9,175, a gap of 264 votes.

After Friday’s count, Stratton’s lead stood at 216 votes. She has 10,896 votes to Rathbun’s 10,680.

Rathbun noted that Wendle and Beggs race is within the parameters for an automatic recount and that “I’m rapidly approaching the same thing.

“That’s what I’m hoping for.”

Rathbun’s gains after Election Day buck the trend citywide, which saw progressive candidates Stuckart and Beggs gain ground on their respective opponents.

“It is what it is. I’m either going to get the job or I’m not. I really want the job, but it’s what the Spokane voters want,” Rathbun said.

In the race for Spokane Mayor, Nadine Woodward still holds a sizable lead. City Council President Ben Stuckart, who conceded immediately on election night, remains behind by 1,708 votes.

In Spokane Valley, City Council incumbent Brandi Peetz slightly extended her lead over Michelle Rasmussen on Friday and was more than 350 votes ahead in the contest.

Peetz was four votes behind Rasmussen on election night, but has been gaining steadily since.

If Peetz wins, the majority on council will flip, and a new, more moderate majority of council members will choose a mayor when they take office in January. If Rasmussen wins, Spokane Valley Council will maintain its more conservative majority.

As of Friday night, Peetz had 10,496 votes to Rasmussen’s 10,143.

Rasmussen said Friday that she wouldn’t concede until the last vote was counted. Peetz also wasn’t ready to claim victory.

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