UPDATE | Two races still too close to call
November 12, 2008 · 9:07 AM
The race for District 2 Island County commissioner is — once again — a little closer.
The county elections office released a revised vote tally Monday afternoon, and Democratic challenger Angie Homola is now 62 votes in front of Republican incumbent Mac McDowell.
The race has tightened each time additional ballots have been counted since Election Day. Homola initially led by 849 votes, then by 630 votes. By Thursday, Nov. 6, her advantage had dropped to 383 votes. On Monday, it was down to 76 votes.
A total of 42,044 ballots have been counted, with approximately 500 left to count.
Because of the Veterans Day holiday, the next vote tally is not expected until 6 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 12.
The race is already heading toward a recount.
Under state law, if the gap between two candidates is less than 2,000 votes — and less than one-half of 1 percent separate the candidates — there is a mandatory machine recount. If the gap is less than 150 votes — and less than one-fourth of 1 percent separate the candidates — there is a mandatory hand recount.
Island County Deputy Auditor Michele Reagan said Monday that provisional ballots must still be verified and tabulated, as well as problem ballots that can be remedied and added to the count.
“The recount really won’t make a hoot of difference,” McDowell said. “We’re not that big of a county.”
“I’m hopeful,” he said. “I’m always hopeful.”
McDowell doubted, though, that the large number of provisional ballots that haven’t been counted will go his way.
Meanwhile, one of the races for a seat in the House for the 10th Legislative District continues to be a nail-biter.
Incumbent Representative Norma Smith has overtaken Democratic challenger Tim Knue in the Position 1 race.
Smith was at 33,125 votes (50.34 percent) as of Monday afternoon, compared to Knue’s 32,676 votes (49.66 percent).
On Election Night, Knue led by nearly 600 votes; Smith’s advantage is now 449 votes.
“I’m just very optimistic and very grateful,” Smith, a Republican, said Monday. “But we need to wait until every vote is counted.”
She said the key will be several thousand outstanding military ballots from Island and parts of Snohomish and Skagit counties that have yet to be counted.
Smith said more votes will have to come in before an automatic recount can be triggered. She said a margin of one-half of 1 percent is required for an automatic recount.
But Smith said she’s counting on a historical trend toward strong-finishing Republicans to put her over the top.
Two years ago, Knue, 54, came in a strong second to Republican Rep. Barbara Bailey in the battle for state representative from the
10th Legislative District Position 2. Bailey came from behind to win.
This year, Knue, a longtime educator from Conway south of Mount Vernon, switched to Position 1 to take on Smith. He received 47 percent of the vote against Smith in the primary.
Smith, 57, of Clinton, was appointed by the GOP to fill the vacancy created by the departing Chris Strow.
A longtime aide to the late Congressman Jack Metcalf, Smith ran twice before for public office, losing to Rick Larsen in a race for the U.S. House of Representatives, and to state Sen. Mary Margaret Haugen.
Knue (pronounced canoe), who grew up in Oak Harbor, taught vocational education at Mount Vernon High School for 27 years.