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Island County primary election winners squeak ahead
The winners of two hotly contested county races will move onto the general election by a nose.
Democrat Karla Jacks led the vote count in the race for District 3 Island County commissioner with 3,103 votes, or 48.79 percent at the last count Thursday.
“We’re very pleased,” Jacks said. “I was surprised. I thought I would do well, but I didn’t think I’d do as well as I did.”
Retired Navy Chief Rick Hannold, however, barely held the second slot after he pulled ahead by a mere 47 votes after being in a dead heat with Mark Hennemann and Aubrey Vaughan.
As of Thursday’s count, Hannold had 941 votes, or 15.24 percent; Vaughan had 894 votes, or 14.48 percent; Hennemann had 872 votes, or 14.12 percent; and Kelly Bagley trailed with 455 votes, or 7.37 percent. All but Jacks are members of the Republican party.
“I’m really happy,” Hannold said. “I think the other candidates ran a good race and are all qualified in their own ways.”
Vaughan, who will serve as the appointed District 3 commissioner until the November election, said he was disappointed he will not go on to the general election.
“I got in so late,” said Vaughan, who was the last candidate to declare his candidacy in May.
Nevertheless, he is pleased with how much support he received and said he would be “very happy” if Hannold wins the seat because he ran a good campaign.
Only voters within District 3 cast ballots for the commissioner primary, but the winner will be decided in the general election through a county-wide vote.
Incumbent Treasurer Ana Maria Nuñez took 45 percent of the vote in the Tuesday primary. She said she was happy she was ahead of the other candidates, but had hoped to receive more than half of the total votes, making a general election win seem more certain.
The focus now, said Nuñez, will be “convincing or assuring” voters that they can continue to have faith in her as treasurer.
“I am the best qualified candidate,” Nuñez said.
Nuñez, a Democrat, said the way she runs her campaign moving forward will depend on who her challenger is going to be, which appeared to be Nuñez’s former deputy treasurer Wanda Grone.
“I am cautiously hopeful,” said Grone, a Republican.
For the second general election slot behind Nuñez, Grone beat escrow manager Christa Canell, also a Republican, by a mere 12 votes as of Thursday.
An automatic mandatory recount is required in races that are “less than one hundred fifty votes and also less than one-fourth of one percent of the total number of votes cast,” according to state code.
The Auditor’s office said that both the District 3 and treasurer’s races will qualify for an automatic recount.
In other races, Island County Auditor Sheilah Crider took 9,259, or 57 percent, of the votes to challenger Rebecca Wagner’s 6,918, or 42.76 percent.
Island County Sheriff Mark Brown, Prosecutor Greg Banks, Coroner Robert Bishop and County Clerk Debra Van Pelt all ran uncontested.
A total of 18,715 ballots have been recorded in the primary, which is a nearly 37 percent turnout.
The election totals will be certified on Aug. 19. The results for any write-in candidates will be revealed then.