The primary election for Tenino’s pivotal mayoral race has reinforced the notion that every vote counts.
Tenino Mayor Bret Brodersen and Councilman Wayne Fournier have finished in a tie with 136 votes apiece in the Aug. 4 primary.
The Thurston County Auditor’s Office held a coin toss Tuesday to determine which name will appear first on the ballot. Fournier won the coin toss ahead of the official certification of the results.
The top two vote-getters will advance to the Nov. 3 general election. A third candidate in the mayoral primary, Councilman John O’Callahan, finished with 77 votes (22.19 percent).
Tenino had a voter turnout of 37.8 percent, with 351 ballots returned out of 928 eligible voters - a much higher percentage than the countywide turnout of 22.33 percent, according to the auditor.
The Tenino mayoral race is one of hottest contests in the county. Brodersen was appointed mayor in June 2013, and is now running to retain his seat as chief executive in this small city of about 1,700 people. Fournier was elected to Tenino City Council position 5 in 2011, but is forgoing re-election to run for mayor.
Brodersen has been criticized for his controversial decision to fire the city’s popular police chief earlier this year over a financial snafu involving the chief’s employment contract and overpaid state retirement benefits. In April, Fournier and O’Callahan led a 3-2 council vote of no confidence in the mayor.
In the primary race for council position 5, Susan Copeland led the way with 179 votes (53.59 percent) and will face Ken Jones (102 votes, 30.54 percent) in the general election. The third candidate, Leslie Lamb, finished with 53 votes (15.87 percent).