With only a handful of votes left to count, it looks like Ben Wick will be the newest member of the Spokane Valley City Council.
Although the 29-year-old I.T. professional had a slim 20-vote lead in Position 6 after votes were counted Nov. 8, he widened the gap to over a hundred the next time ballots were tabulated a day later. As of Tuesday night, that lead jumped again to a margin of 360 votes over Cline, 10,619 to 10,259.
Wick – like Bill Gothmann, who opted not to run for re-election to Position 6 – will be the only non-Positive Change-affiliated member of the council. He, with the other elected council members, will be sworn in Jan. 3.
In other races, appointed Council Member Arne Woodard looks to be confirmed by voters for Position 3, as he continues to hold his lead over challenger DeeDee Loberg. As of Tuesday, Woodard had nearly 52 percent of the vote and led 10,899 to 9,928.
With over 56 percent of the vote, Position 2 Council Member Dean Grafos continued to hold strong over challenger John Carroll.
In Position 5, council-appointee Chuck Hafner’s name was alone on the ballot. However, 791 write-in votes were recorded.
Mike Padden will be headed to Olympia’s special session starting Nov. 28. However, due to a quirk in state law and since votes will not be certified until Nov. 29, Rep. Jeff Baxter will have one more day of duties for the 4th District.
Baxter – who was appointed by Spokane County commissioners to replace Bob McCaslin after he resigned at the beginning of the year – trailed former judge and legislator Padden by 3,638 votes as of Tuesday night’s count.
In a close council race in Liberty Lake, Shane Brickner’s lead eroded from 54 percent last week to 51.4 on Tuesday. However, it appears to be enough to guarantee him the Position 5 spot over Keith Kopelson, who trailed by 73 votes.
Leads also widened for incumbents Brian Ellingson and Glenn Bailey in Millwood, who both now see margins of around 55 percent over their challengers, Mike Ellis and David Kopp, respectively.
While Spokane Valley’s Proposition 1 – which would have reverted Sprague and Appleway to two-way arterials between Dishman-Mica and University roads – was crushed at the polls with nearly 84 percent voting no, other tax measures also failed:
- Fire District 8, which was counting on passage of a maintenance-and-operations levy that would have cost property owners an estimated 17 centers per $1,000 assessed value, only managed to get barely over 50-percent approval. A 60-percent supermajority was needed for passage. The district serves a portion of the Ponderosa area along with territory south of Spokane Valley.
- A bond that would have funded the construction of a new fire station in Newman Lake struggled with just over 47-percent approval.
The Spokane County Elections Department counted another 3,639 votes on Tuesday. There are still another 1,000 remaining to be counted before the votes are certified on Nov. 29. Wednesday’s update came too late to include here, but vote tallies will be updated in next week’s News Herald.