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Emerson's lead narrows in Island County commissioner race

COUPEVILLE — Incumbent Democratic Island County Commissioner John Dean pulled closer to Republican challenger Kelly Emerson in the race for the District 3 seat on the county board of commissioners, according to the most recent vote tally released Wednesday evening.

Emerson still leads in the race — 13,727 to 13,005 — but Dean closed the gap by 305 votes in the most recent tally. The Republican challenger is in front by 722 votes, with Emerson leading by 51.3 percent of the vote to Dean's 48.6 percent. Emerson had 52 percent of the vote on Election Day.

So far, a total of 27,988 ballots have been cast in this year's General Election in Island County, and voter turnout is estimated at 58.5 percent.

The Island County elections office expects to release a new vote count at 5:30 p.m. today. Election workers estimate another 8,300 ballots will be received for counting in the days ahead. That number includes ballots still coming in, plus ones that must be reviewed by the Island County Canvass Board and ballots with unresolved signature issues.

In yesterday's new vote tally, Dean picked up more votes than Emerson in 46 of the county's 83 precincts. Emerson garnered more votes than the incumbent in 35 precincts, and the candidates battled to a draw in new votes in the remaining two precincts (Scenic Heights and Oak Harbor 6).

Dean's biggest gains on Wednesday came in historically left-leaning precincts on Central and South Whidbey: Lagoon Point, Coupeville 1, Sandy Point, Lone Lake, Prairie, Glendale and Austin.

Emerson's biggest gains were in the precincts of Prairie and Coveland on Central Whidbey, and the North Whidbey precinct of Countryside.

The challenger continues to lead in Camano Island votes, but by a slimmer margin. Emerson is in front in 10 of the island's 18 precincts, down from 11 on Election Day (Dean has taken the lead in Lost Lake).

Emerson had a 122-vote advantage on Camano on Election Day, but that lead has since dropped to 70 votes.

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