By Don Nelson
In early returns from Tuesday’s (Nov. 7) general election, Sally Ranzau is ahead of council member Bob DeHart in the race to become Winthrop’s next mayor, and incumbent Methow Valley School Board member Gary Marchbank leads challenger Paul Budrow in the contest for the Position 4 seat on the board.
Winthrop Town Council member Kirsten Vanderhalf leads 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.
The first round of ballot counting by the Okanogan County Auditor’s Office concluded Tuesday night. A second round of vote totals will be released on Thursday (Nov. 9) at 5 p.m. Election results will be certified by Nov. 28.
The countywide sales tax increase is being supported by 57 percent of the county’s voters, leading in the vote count by 2,428 – 1,814.
Marchbank, seeking his third term on the school board, leads Twisp Police Chief Budrow 458 – 382 in voting for the at-large position, or 54.5 percent to 45.5 percent.
With a very small ballot count of 92 so far in Winthrop, Ranzau’s 53 – 39 lead over DeHart represents 58 percent of the votes but may not be entirely safe given the ballots left to count.
Vanderhalf has a more commanding lead over Acheson in counted ballots, 58 – 27 (68 percent to 32 percent).
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.
Updated election reports will be posted on www.methowvalleynews.com after the second ballot count is released on Thursday (Nov. 9). See next week’s Methow Valley News for complete election details.