By Don Nelson

After the second round of ballot counting for Tuesday’s (Nov. 7) general election, Sally Ranzau has increased her lead over council member Bob DeHart in the race to become Winthrop’s next mayor; and incumbent Methow Valley School Board member Gary Marchbank has also increased his margin over challenger Paul Budrow in the contest for the Position 4 seat on the school board.

Winthrop Town Council member Kirsten Vanderhalf continues to lead former mayor and council member Anne Acheson in the race to fill Position 1 on the council.

And county voters are handily approving a ballot measure authorizing a 0.1 percent increase in the county’s sales tax to support upgrades to the juvenile detention facility.

Updated results from the second round of ballot counting were released on Thursday (Nov. 9). A third round of vote totals will be released next Wednesday (Nov. 15) at 5 p.m. Election results will be certified by Nov. 28. The auditor’s office estimated that 2,185 ballots remain to be counted.

The countywide sales tax increase is being supported by nearly 60 percent of the county’s voters, leading in the vote count by 4,196 – 2,860.

Marchbank, seeking his third term on the school board, leads Twisp Police Chief Budrow 902-609 in voting for the at-large position, or 60 percent to 40 percent.

Ranzau leads DeHart by 104-58, polling about 63 percent of the votes. Vanderhalf is drawing about 60 percent of the vote and leads Acheson, 91-62.

Two positions on the Twisp Town Council were on the ballot, with incumbents running unopposed for the four-year terms. Alan Caswell is seeking election to council position 3, and Aaron Studen is seeking re-election to council position 2.

One uncontested seat on the Okanogan County Fire Protection District 6 commission is on the ballot. The position is held by Jerry Palm, who has been a District 6 commissioner since 1994. Palm is seeking another six-year term on the commission.

In Winthrop, Position 1 is the only seat being contested. If her substantial lead holds up, Vanderhalf – who was recently appointed to the council – will continue as a council member, but in a different position.

William Kilby is running unopposed to fill position 4, which Vanderhalf now holds by appointment. Joseph O’Driscoll, who recently was appointed to the position 1 seat vacated when council member Rick Northcott was appointed mayor, is running unopposed for the position 2 seat now held by Mike Strulic, who is not seeking re-election.

Northcott, who is not seeking re-election, was appointed mayor to replace Acheson after she resigned. Council member DeHart, who now holds council position 5, acted as mayor pro tem between Acheson and Northcott. By running for mayor, DeHart is giving up position 5. That seat is being sought by Bill McAdow, who is running unopposed.

Ben Nelson is running unopposed to continue filling position 3, which he now holds.

Vicki Orford and Tracy Shrable are running unopposed for positions on the Hospital District 1 (Three Rivers) board of directors.

See next week’s Methow Valley News for complete election coverage.