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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

McCaslin still gaining on Dalton; Chase’s re-election odds look increasingly slim

Two major upsets are looking increasingly likely after Spokane County elections workers counted another 19,000 ballots Thursday.

Spokane County Auditor Vicky Dalton’s seat appears to be in serious jeopardy.

Dalton has 50.5% of the vote to Republican Bob McCaslin’s 49.4%, but the numbers are trending in the challenger’s direction.

McCaslin, a sitting state legislator, won 57.3% of the votes counted Thursday, while Dalton took 42.6%. Dalton was up by more than 5,700 on election night but now holds a mere 1,960-vote lead, with approximately 28,000 ballots left to count.

McCaslin needs to win roughly 53.5% of the remaining ballots to unseat the Democrat.

Dalton has served as Spokane County auditor since the late 1990s and has consistently won re-election even though the county is red overall. She has support from several well-known Republicans, including former Washington Secretary of State Sam Reed and Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich.

On the campaign trail, Dalton has said she believes election misinformation and disinformation pose a serious threat to democracy. She’s also touted her office’s commitment to ensuring the county’s elections are secure, accurate and accessible.

McCaslin has mostly refused to talk to the media or participate in debates while on the campaign trail, despite listing transparency as one of his top priorities.

The lawmaker has attempted to pass legislation that would have required Washington counties to hire third parties to audit their 2020 election results. He also co-hosted a meeting headlined by Seth Keshel, who argues President Joe Biden’s victory appears to have been illegitimate based on past voting trends.

In a TV campaign ad, McCaslin borrows clips from the Dinesh D’Souza documentary “2000 Mules.”

That film, which is full of faulty premises and unsupported claims, uses cellphone tracking data to argue that Democrats stole the 2020 election from former President Donald Trump.

Bill Barr, who served as Trump’s attorney general, has discredited the film, as have multiple law enforcement agencies and fact checkers. Still, the documentary remains popular among those who believe the 2020 election was stolen.

In the 4th Legislative District, Rep. Rob Chase, R-Liberty Lake, is watching his re-election odds grow increasingly slim.

Republican challenger Leonard Christian now has 50.3% of the vote to Chase’s 47.6%. Chase only gained three-tenths of a percentage point Thursday.