District 1 results still too close to call

Photo by Marcy Stamper County commission District 2 candidates Andy Hover and Ashley Thrasher were the top vote-getters in the primary election.

Photo by Marcy Stamper
County commission District 2 candidates Andy Hover and Ashley Thrasher were the top vote-getters in the primary election.

By Marcy Stamper

Okanogan County citizens will have at least one new representative on the county board of commissioners after strong showings by challengers Andy Hover and Ashley Thrasher, who elbowed out incumbent Commissioner Ray Campbell in the Aug. 2 primary.

With all but a handful of ballots counted on Monday (Aug. 8), Hover had 40 percent of the vote and Thrasher had 34 percent, making them the top-two vote-getters who advance to the November general election. Campbell received 21 percent of the vote and Stan Kvistad got 5 percent.

The District 1 race for the seat held by County Commissioner Sheilah Kennedy is dramatically tighter, with the top three vote-getters within just 14 votes of one another. Kennedy was in the lead with 27.21 percent of the vote (613 votes), followed by Chris Branch with 27.03 percent (609 votes) and Larry Schreckengast with 26.59 percent (599 votes). Ted Reinbold was trailing with 19 percent (432 votes).

There are about 86 ballots countywide left to be tallied, most with signatures that didn’t match or no signature at all, according to Mila Jury, the county’s election supervisor. In addition, there are 15 valid ballots that just arrived in the mail and half a dozen that will be evaluated by the county’s canvassing board. Because all these ballots are from the entire county, it is too soon to say whether any have the potential to affect the outcome of the District 1 race, said Jury.

If the current results hold, Kennedy will advance to the general election. Although Branch and Schreckengast are separated by just 10 votes, as the votes now stand, there would not be an automatic recount between the two, said Jury. State law prescribes a recount in a primary election only if the difference between the second and third vote-getters is less than 1/2 of 1 percent of the total votes those two candidates received.

With the current vote tally, that would mean the difference would have to be six votes or fewer to trigger a recount, said Jury. As long as Kennedy maintains a lead — even if it is just by one vote — she will go on to the general election.

A candidate can request a recount but would have to pay for staff time and materials, including separating out the ballots for the relevant district, said Jury.

Hover, a Republican, is the manager of North Valley Lumber in Winthrop and the son of former Okanogan County Commissioner Bud Hover. Thrasher, who states no party preference, is a wildland firefighter with the U.S. Forest Service and a smokejumper.

Branch, who prefers the Independent Party, is the community development director for Oroville. Schreckengast, a Republican, recently retired after a 16-year career as Omak police chief.

District 1 represents Omak, part of Okanogan, and southeastern Okanogan County, including Nespelem and Coulee Dam. District 2 represents the Methow Valley, Brewster, Pateros, Malott and the Chiliwist, and part of Okanogan.

Hover’s strongest support came from precincts around Winthrop and Mazama. His lowest vote counts were from Brewster and Pateros.

Thrasher drew most votes from Mazama, Libby Creek and several precincts in the town of Twisp. She polled lowest from areas around Brewster and Pateros.

Campbell’s biggest support came from Methow, Brewster, Pateros and the lower Methow Valley, although some precincts in those areas gave him only a few votes.

Other races

Okanogan County voters chose Jerry Asmussen (57 percent) and Aaron Kester (25.5 percent) to compete for the seat being vacated by Okanogan County Public Utility District Commissioner Ernie Bolz. John Hamilton Graham received just 17.5 percent of the vote.

In statewide races, Okanogan County voters gave the largest plurality to incumbent U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, a Democrat, with 43 percent of the vote. The next-highest vote-getter was Republican Chris Vance, who polled 36 percent. Washington voters also gave Murray and Vance the votes to advance to the general election, with 54 percent for Murray and 28 percent for Vance in the crowded field of 17 candidates.

For the Washington state Senate seat being vacated by retiring Sen. Linda Evans Parlette, Brad Hawkins — who has been a state representative for District 12 — received 66 percent of the vote, while Jon Wyss got 34 percent. Okanogan County’s results were similar, giving Hawkins 63 percent and Wyss 38 percent in the two-way race. Both candidates prefer the Republican Party.

In the race for the 4th Congressional District, which includes Okanogan County, incumbent Dan Newhouse got 46 percent of the vote and will face Clint Didier, who took 27 percent. Okanogan County voters gave Newhouse 47 percent of the vote and Doug McKinley 29 percent, the only ones in the eight counties in the district to give McKinley, the sole Democrat in the race, enough votes to come in second.

For the representative to the state Legislature from District 12, incumbent Republican Cary Condotta racked up 64 percent and Democratic challenger Dan Maher got 36 percent statewide. Okanogan County voters gave Condotta 56 percent and Maher 44 percent in the two-way race.

In the contest for Hawkins’ seat in the state House of Representatives, Mike Steele got 35 percent and Garn Christensen got 23 percent statewide. Okanogan County voters gave Steele 42.5 percent and Danny Stone 21 percent in the race among four Republicans.

Okanogan County voters favored the same two candidates as Washington voters for Commissioner of Public Lands, giving Republican Steve McLaughlin 57 percent and Democrat Hilary Franz 14 percent in the seven-way contest. State voters gave McLaughlin 38 percent and Franz 23 percent. Incumbent Peter Goldmark did not seek re-election.

Incumbent Gov. Jay Inslee, a Democrat, will face Republican Bill Bryant. Inslee got the support of 37 percent of Okanogan County voters, who favored Bryant with 47 percent, in another active field of 11 candidates. Statewide, Inslee got 49 percent and Bryant received 38 percent.

For the top school post in the state, Okanogan County voters chose Ron Higgins (24 percent) and Erin Jones (21 percent) out of nine candidates for Superintendent of Public Instruction. Current statewide tallies show Jones will advance to the general election with 25 percent of the vote to face challenger Chris Reykdal, who received 21 percent.

Better turnout here

Turnout in Okanogan County was 43 percent of 21,737 registered voters. Okanogan County has added 1,238 new voters since the beginning of the year, according to Jury.

Okanogan was one of 10 of the state’s 39 counties where turnout exceeded 40 percent. San Juan County is the only county where more than half of registered voters cast ballots. Turnout among all Washington voters was under 34 percent.

There were 1,370 more votes cast in the District 2 commissioners’ race for Campbell’s seat than in the District 1 race for Kennedy’s seat. Districts are created based on total population, so it was not clear if turnout was lower in District 1, or if there are fewer registered voters there, because the county does not break down registered voters by district, said Jury.

Okanogan County elections staff have until Aug. 15 to go through remaining ballots. The secretary of state will certify the election on Aug. 19.

In the primary, voters choose only among candidates in their own district, with the top two vote-getters advancing to the general election. All voters in the entire county vote in the general election for all open positions.

People have until Oct. 10 to register online or by mail for the Nov. 8 general election. People can register in person through Oct. 31. Search for the Washington voter registration website or the Okanogan County auditor’s web page for more information.

Primary election results

Following are Okanogan County election results as of the third ballot count on Monday (Aug. 8), as provided by the county auditor’s office. The next ballot count is on Friday (Aug. 10). The auditor’s office said that about 9,329 ballots have been counted and only a handful remain to be counted. In individual races, the top two finishers will advance to the November general election. For complete results, see the Okanogan County webpage and click on the auditor’s office.

Okanogan County District 1 commissioner

* Sheilah Kennedy               613     27%

Ted Reinbold                         432     19%

Larry W. Schreckengast    599     27%

Chris Branch                           609     27%


Okanogan County District 2 commissioner

Andy Hover                        1,451     40%

Stan R. Kvistad                     190       5%

Ashley W. Thrasher        1,221     34%

* Ray Campbell                     761     21%


Okanogan County Public Utility District, District 3 commissioner

Jerry D. Asmussen           1,599     57%

John Hamilton Graham      494     18%

Aaron Kester                         717     25%

Town of Twisp sales tax proposal for transportation benefit district

Yes     204                              73%

No       76                                27%


Hospital District 1 (Three Rivers Hospital), proposition 1, one-year special levy (Okanogan and Douglas county votes combined); needs supermajority of 60% to pass

Yes     1,792                          54%

No       1,538                          46%

Hospital District 1 (Three Rivers Hospital), proposition 2, levy lid lift (Okanogan and Douglas County votes combined); needs simple majority to pass

Yes     1,872                          55%

No       1,505                          45%

Legislative District 12, state senator (Okanogan County votes only)

Brad Hawkins                    2,277     63%

Jon Wyss                             1,360     37%


Legislative District 12, state representative position 1 (Okanogan County votes only)

* Cary Condotta                2,384     56%

Dan Maher                         1,899     44%


Legislative District 12, state representative position 2 (Okanogan County votes only)

Mike Steele                       1,209     43%

Jerry Paine                              438     15%

Danny Stone                          605     21%

Garn G. Christensen            587     21%

Governor (top two, Okanogan County votes only)

* Jay Inslee                        3,261     37%

Bill Bryant                            4,131     47%


U.S. Senate (top two, Okanogan County votes only)

Chris Vance                        3,075     36%

* Patty Murray                  3,649     43%


4th Congressional District, Okanogan County votes only

* Dan Newhouse             3,950     47%

Glenn M. Jakeman              189       2%

Doug McKinley                  2,448     29%

Clint Didier                          1,535     18%

John (the man) Malan        225       3%


* incumbent