The already close race for Spokane County auditor got even closer Friday.
With more than 212,000 ballots counted, Democratic incumbent Vicky Dalton has 50.2% of the vote to Republican Bob McCaslin’s 49.7%.
Dalton holds a 1,008-vote lead with 7,100 ballots left to count, leaving the race too close to call. McCaslin needs to win roughly 58% of the remaining votes to pull off an upset.
McCaslin, a sitting state legislator, has consistently gained on Dalton since election day.
After the first vote count Tuesday, Dalton sat in front with 52% of the vote. That percentage shrunk to 51.3% Wednesday and 50.5% Thursday as later arriving ballots favored McCaslin.
On Thursday, the outlook for Dalton looked grim. McCaslin won 57.3% of the ballots that day, putting him on pace for victory.
The Friday vote count still favored McCaslin, but the Republican didn’t have as dominant a showing. He took 52.2% of the vote to Dalton’s 47.1%.
Dalton has served as Spokane County auditor since the late 1990s and consistently held onto her seat even though the county leans Republican overall.
The Democrat has avoided attacking McCaslin on the campaign trail, instead highlighting her office’s accomplishments and commitment to running secure and accurate elections.
McCaslin, who lists transparency among his top priorities, has frequently ducked interviews and debates during his run for auditor. However, the lawmaker has made some of his views on elections clear.
In 2021, McCaslin attempted to pass legislation that would have required counties to hire private businesses to audit their 2020 election results.
The Republican has supported attempts to audit Spokane County’s 2020 election and co-hosted a meeting headlined by Seth Keshel, who argues President Joe Biden’s victory seems to have been illegitimate based on past voting trends.
In a TV campaign ad, McCaslin shared clips from “2000 Mules,” a Dinesh D’Souza documentary.
That film, which contains numerous faulty premises and unsupported claims, uses cellphone tracking data to argue that Democrats stole the 2020 election from former President Donald Trump.
Trump administration Attorney General Bill Barr, multiple law enforcement agencies and fact checkers have thoroughly discredited the film.
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