Recount gives win to Homola in Island County

Democrat Angie Homola has been named the winner after a week-long hand recount in the race for Island County commissioner in District 2.

Homola, an Oak Harbor architect, beat 16-year Republican member Mac McDowell for the seat on the three-member board of commissioners. Homola was named the winner by

60 votes when the race was certified as official on Nov. 25, and the recount was certified by the county canvassing board Monday afternoon.

The canvassing board met for roughly an hour Monday to decide the status of eight questionable ballots, said Deputy Auditor Michele Reagan.

In the final tally, Homola won by 62 votes; Homola had 19,218 votes to McDowell’s 19,156.

“The end result is the same: Ms. Homola has had her victory confirmed,” Reagan said. “It’s done. Done.”

The new commissioner will take the oath of office in early January. She will serve with Helen Price Johnson of Clinton and John Dean of Camano Island, and the board will be controlled for the first time in county history by three Democrats.

The recount meant adjusted vote totals for both candidates.

“His went down by six, and hers went down by four,” Reagan said.

The changed figures, Reagan said, are largely due to the sensitivity of the election equipment and how the machines counted stray marks on the ballots. The hand recount noted only a few changes. “People were really good about coloring in the boxes the way the instruction says, so there was really no question.”

Homola won the seat by a strong showing in Central Whidbey precincts, and by picking up five traditionally Republican-leaning precincts on the north end. A massive Democratic turnout on South Whidbey was also a factor in her victory, according to a review of precinct returns by The Record.

How close a race was it?

McDowell won the most votes in 38 of Island County’s 65 precincts, while Homola took 27.

McDowell also won three precincts on the South End: Useless Bay by seven, Double Bluff by eight, 171 to 163; and Possession Point Precinct by a dozen votes, 175-163.

There are 15 precincts in the county with more than 1,000 voters. McDowell won nine of those precincts; Homola, six.

The Republican incumbent also won nine-of-10 precincts on Camano Island, all but Point Allen, at the island’s southern end.

Homola, however, won 60 percent or more of the vote in nine precincts: Glendale, Sandy Point, Saratoga, Maxwelton, Lone Lake, Coupeville 1 and 2 and Langley 1 and 2. The key trio, of course, being Glendale, Saratoga and Lone Lake, three of the biggest precincts in Island County.

McDowell, by contrast, racked up 60 percent or more of the vote in just four precincts; Polnell, and Oak Harbor Precincts 4, 8 and 9.

Homola also won four in-city precincts — Oak Harbor 2, 5, 6 and 7, and won the north Whidbey precinct of Ault. And she gave McDowell a fight in many traditionally Republican-leaning precincts, hurting the incumbent by limiting her loss to 5 points or less in West Beach, Oak Harbor 1, 11 and 13.

And Homola won every Central Whidbey precinct, some with great gains.

The Central area on Whidbey came up big for the challenger, and her advantage over McDowell ran as high as 13 percentage points in Central, to 19 points in Greenbank.

Homola did not return a call for comment late Monday. In a statement to the press released Tuesday morning, Homola pledged to serve with “passion and dedication.”

“We begin a new day in Island County,” she said in the statement. “Transparency and public participation will be paramount. I am committed to supporting the vast majority of Washingtonians who believe that how we steward our property has a direct impact on our neighbors, the environment and future generations. As your representative I will always be mindful that what we do today will affect our children and our natural resources far into the future.”

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