Republicans lead on election night; Hannold, Grone and Crider all ahead

Rachel McDougald and Toni Craggs open and sort ballots turned into the Island County Auditor’s office.

It appears from the first count of ballots Tuesday night that the Republican momentum nationwide was felt in Island County. Republican candidates are ahead in all but one of the contested local and legislative races affecting Island County.

The bid for the Island County commissioner district 3 seat, however, is still too close to call.

Republican candidate Rick Hannold, a North Whidbey resident, is ahead of Camano Island Democrat Karla Jacks by just 301 votes.

Hannold has 11,868 votes, or 51 percent, while Jacks has 11,567, or 49 percent.

In an interview after the results came in, Hannold said he was expecting a close race.

“It’s too early to get excited,” he said, noting that he was behind in the first count of the primary race.

Hannold said he was grateful to his loyal volunteers, who he said made up for the big disparity in spending between him and Jacks.

“It was really a shoe leather, grassroots campaign,” he said.

Jacks could not be reached for comment.

In the spirited race for county treasurer, Republican candidate Wanda Grone is ahead of her former boss, incumbent Ana Maria Nunez, a Democrat.

Grone has 12,459 votes cast in her favor, or 54 percent, while Nunez has 10,507 votes, or 46 percent.

Grone said Tuesday that she’s crossing her fingers.

“I’m encouraged by the early vote count,” she said, “but I learned in the primary the person with the most votes isn’t necessarily the person who wins.”

Nunez offered a prepared statement.

“During our nation’s worse recession,” she said, “I was able to invest our scarce dollars to see gains and more importantly my office kept people faced with tax foreclosures in their homes. I hope the good citizens of Island County will continue to be as well served as I have served them.”

Island County Auditor Sheilah Crider, a Republican, is ahead with 12,368 votes, or 56 percent. Challenger Rebecca Wagner, an independent, garnered 9,553 votes, or 44 percent.

In state Legislative District 10, Rep. Norma Smith, R-Clinton, is far ahead of Libertarian challenger Michael Scott. Smith has 77 percent in the district while Scott has 23 percent.

Rep. Dave Hayes, R-Camano, is also leading his opponent, Skagit County Democrat Nick Petrish. Hayes has 59 percent of the vote and Petrish has 41 percent.

The one bright spot for Democrats is the race for the U.S. House seat. Rep. Rick Larsen, the Democratic incumbent, is ahead of Republican challenger B.J. Guillot. Larsen has 62 percent and Guillot has 38 percent.