Republican Keith Olson pulled slightly ahead of Democrat Al Smith for second place in the Grays Harbor County Commissioner District 3 race after an updated ballot count was released Thursday.
Olson had trailed Smith by 58 votes after the initial count on Election Day, and now leads him by a razor-thin margin of four votes. Cosmopolis Mayor Vickie Raines, who is running with no party preference, still has a commanding lead and will head into the general election in November with 33.2 percent. The top two vote-getters proceed to that contest. The fourth commissioner candidate, Independent Jim Heikel, conceded Wednesday.
“Well ... I think that is great,” Olson replied to an email. “That being said, now I just have to hold that four-vote lead. It’s kind of an ‘emotional roller coaster.’ ”
“This election process has been full of surprises — especially the assessor’s race ... unbelievable?” responded Smith in an email, referring to the contest where incumbent Assessor Rick Hole is trailing Smith’s fellow Democrat, Dan Lindgren.
“As far as the commissioner’s race is concerned it is going to ride out to 19 August as predicted,” Smith added.
The results now have Raines with 1,839 votes out of a total of 5,538 counted in the race. Olson leads for the remaining spot on the November ballot with 26 percent (1,442 votes) and Smith dropped to 25.9 percent.
“Every vote really does count,” said Elections Supervisor Katy Moore. The narrow margin may end up mandating a recount for the second-place candidates.
“For a machine recount the race must be less than 2,000 votes difference and be less than half of one percent. For a manual recount, the race must be less than 150 votes and less than a quarter of one percent,” she wrote in an email.
The current difference between Smith and Olson would mandate a manual recount.
In the Assessor’s race, incumbent Hole increased his lead over Pacific County Chief Appraiser Loni Hooper for the second spot on the November ballot, now leading her by 381 votes. Hole, who states no party preference, registered 30.4 percent (4,079 votes) after the latest count. Hooper tallied 27.5 percent.
Lindgren, an appraiser in the Assessor’s Office and Hole’s opponent in the last election, still holds the top spot with 42.08 percent (4.649 votes) of a total of 13,426 ballots counted.
Moore is also working on some 254 signature challenges countywide. Of those ballots, 110 are within District 3, Moore added.
If enough ballots arrive to warrant it, another count would be released by Wednesday of next week, she said.
The election is due to be certified on Aug. 19.
John Straka increased his slim lead over former PUD commissioner Frank Moses in the race to determine who will run against incumbent PUD Commissioner Russ Skolrood in November.
Straka held a 75-vote lead over Moses on election night. He now leads Moses by 109 votes with 26.9 percent (1,272 votes) to Moses’ 24.6 percent.
Skolrood leads the three-way primary with 48.5 percent of the vote.
The ballot measure creating Grays Harbor County Public Hospital District 2 to oversee Grays Harbor Community Hospital continues to pass by a wide margin, though the percentage dipped slightly to 61.41 percent from 61.42.