Updated: Poor Voter Turn-out Leaves Several Races Unpredictable

by lewwaters

I thank all who turned in their ballots in the Tuesday primary elections, but remain very disappointed in so many not bothering to participate. Of the 234,411 ballots mailed out, only 71,951 have been received back at the time of this writing. That amounts to 30.69%, far less than the 38% first predicted, which itself is poor.

While some still may trickle in from further out in the county, I expect few differences in what races have already determined which two candidates move-on to the November 6 General.

A few surprises and disappointments, but overall the votes seem to have gone fairly close as I expected, even though I did not issue any predictions.

For U.S. Senate, I was disappointed to see Art Coday finish so far behind as I expected him to do better. I did not expect him to win, especially in Clark County, but believed he would show better. I can live with Baumgartner taking on Cantwell and also know he has his work cut out for him.

I was equally disappointed to see Shahram Hadian finish fourth statewide for Governor. There too I did not expect a win as Hadian was facing stiff opposition from the WSRP, who like the WSDP determined that only their chosen candidates would receive party support or even acknowledgement. No surprise to see JaRob McInslee moving on.

But, Republican Rob McKenna must see that he lost a double digit lead in the polls by campaigning more liberal than conservative. He trails now and with his many liberal positions taken, will have to earn the support of conservatives. He might think he is, but he is not owed the Governor’s Office.

Liberal Democrats will always vote for Democrats while Conservative Republicans will not automatically jump in behind a liberal Republican. McKenna will have to work hard and frankly, I’m not too sure he can manage it after his dismal campaigning and alienating the conservative base.

Republican Kim Wyman finished with a very comfortable lead over Democrat Kathleen Drew for Secretary of State, a lead I expect to carry through to the November elections.

I was not surprised at all to see outgoing 49th Legislative District Senator Craig Pridemore failing to move ahead for State Auditor. I hope he enjoys his retirement and look forward to seeing Republican James Watkins, who nearly doubled the votes of his closest competitor, Democrat Troy Kelley, win just as easily in November.

Seeing incumbent Jaime Herrera Beutler, finishing her first lackluster term as 3rd Congressional District Representative finish ahead of Democrat challenger Jon Haugen comes as no surprise. But seeing her finish well below the expected 60% vote expected in a redistricted district drawn to her benefit must be a blow.

But not surprising given her many fence straddling positions and locking constituents out of town halls by holding small “coffees,” scheduled at the last minute and at times by invitation only. She will likely win in November, but has alienated more voters than she realizes.

I have to add that I do enjoy seeing how some local races have turned out as apparently voters saw through the hit pieces by the Columbian’s Stephanie Rice and negative ads sent out on behalf of some Democrats.

In spite of years of negative attack press against 17th Legislative District Senator Don Benton and some erroneous attack ads sent out on behalf of his opponent, boyish face Tim Probst, Benton finished with a slim lead over Probst. With some ballots yet to be counted, it could change, but overall I expect voters in the 17th to see through the hit pieces attacking the State Senator they have trusted for the past 16 years to continue looking out for them.

Likewise, in the race for Clark County Commissioner Pos. 1, incumbent Tom Mielke has faced a barrage of attacks and negative press from the same Columbian writer and in spite of all of the attempts to denigrate him, Mielke finished nearly 1,500 votes ahead of his nearest competitor, Democrat Joe Tanner. That is unlikely to change much as counting continues as those ballots not counted are mostly from east county.

Another that very easily could switch is the other Clark Commissioner seat, Pos. 2 race. The Columbian has suddenly pulled hard to support incumbent Republican Marc Boldt, who sold out his conservative base several times during his two terms and lost the support of his party who supported challenger, David Madore, a successful Vancouver businessman.

With several ballots to be counted and reported, Boldt sits in third place with Democrat challenger Roman Battan, a novice politically slightly ahead. Madore has a lot of strong support in East County, so I expect the counts to be a struggle between Boldt and Battan.

The 17th District also sees a surprise in Republican Julie Olson finishing slightly behind Democrat Monica Stonier, in her 3rd attempt to gain public office. Seeing Matthew Homola take many votes that should have gone to Olson, considering Homola did not really campaign and did not appear at any events I am aware of shows Olson my articulate a stronger stand on issues of importance, primarily the CRC/light rail. Olson will likely see many votes from those who voted for Homola go to her in November, but she will still perform much better with a stronger message.

Also in the 17th, incumbent Paul Harris, who has performed very well in his first term, finished with a comfortable lead over challenger, Democrat Jim Gizzi and I expect to see that continue in November.

Moving on the 18th District, recently appointed Senator Ann Rivers, who showed selecting her to replace Jaime Herrera was a wise move finished with a strong lead over her challenger, Democrat Ralph Schmidt, some 22%.

Brandon Vick finished on top in the 18th District Pos. 1 Representative race, not surprising considering Adrian Cortes dropped out early. A write-in effort for Republican Pete Silliman, not counted as of this writing, is not expected to make any changes.

Republican Liz Pike also finished with a strong lead over Democrat David Shehorn in the 18th District Pos. 2 seat. With the 18th District being a historical Republican District, Liz should finish well in November.

Disappointing but also not surprising was seeing a clean sweep by Democrats in the 49th District. But like the 18th, the 49th is historically a strong Democrat District.

I wouldn’t count out the Republicans in this District, though. In spite of a good finish, Rep. Jim Moeller is vulnerable as voters realize how he has a pending lawsuit to invalidate our votes on the 2/3 vote requirement for raising taxes, voted in by some 70% of his constituents. Challenger Carolyn Crain, in her first ever run for office, is working hard to reach voters.

Republican Debbie Peterson is making her second run for office, this time against incumbent Sharon Wylie who also finished on top.

The race for the open seat for Senator proves to be an uphill fight for Republican Eileen Qutub against union financed Democrat, Annette Cleveland in her first ever run for public office.

All three Republicans are working hard in the 49th, but all are at a financial disadvantage, facing public union money and big money supporters of the CRC/light rail. They need just as much boots on the ground and financial support as they can get from supporters.

Clark County elections are scheduled to release another update on the vote count around 5 PM this evening and we’ll then see how the close races are going.

I believe the low turn-out was due to the presidential primary being cancelled this year and settled through caucuses. Traditionally, the General Elections see many more voters.

With this being a very critical election for the nation and the state, I pray that is once again the case and conservatives wake up, get out and support candidates and most importantly, vote!

UPDATE: Since first writing this post, Clark County Elections have released an update on the vote count. Both David Madore and Tom Mielke have increased their leads while Marc Boldt edged into second in his race from third.

3 Comments to “Updated: Poor Voter Turn-out Leaves Several Races Unpredictable”

  1. Any idea why the Auditor’s office can’t get around to counting the ballots they have on hand? The vote totals don’t increase, only the under voted ballots seem to accumulate.

  2. While I don’t know for certain, Geoff, I would imagine those left are ones that have been challenged, marked in such a way as to be uncertain of the voters intent or need some other scrutiny.

    I have observed ballot counting down there and was shocked to see how some ballots are sent in with double markings, one box not be adequately marked as a mistaken vote or marked up somehow.

    While not a large problem, you wouldn’t believe how some people can’t seem to figure out such a simple thing as marking a ballot.

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