Elections

Commissioner and Superior Court races remain too close to call

With full ballot trays standing 6-feet tall nearby, Thurston County Elections staff member Dan Zertuche loads them at the Elections Ballot Processing Center in Tumwater on Monday afternoon. The Auditor’s Office plans to continue counting ballots Friday, which is a holiday, and Saturday.
With full ballot trays standing 6-feet tall nearby, Thurston County Elections staff member Dan Zertuche loads them at the Elections Ballot Processing Center in Tumwater on Monday afternoon. The Auditor’s Office plans to continue counting ballots Friday, which is a holiday, and Saturday. sbloom@theolympian.com

Several Thurston County candidates will have to wait a few more days before finding out whether they’ve won or lost their races, according to a ballot count released at 6 p.m. Thursday by the Thurston County Auditor’s Office.

In Thurston County Commissioner District No. 1, former Tenino Police Chief John Hutchings has a slight lead over Olympia City Council member Jim Cooper.

Cooper, a Democrat, had 48 percent, or 50,751 ballots, and Hutchings, an independent, had 51.7 percent, or 54,669 ballots, after Wednesday’s count.

The winner will replace retiring county commissioner Cathy Wolfe. The district runs through the central portion of the county and includes Tenino, rural Rainier, Olympia and Johnson Point.

In the commission’s District No. 2 — which covers the eastern portion of the county including Lacey, Yelm and Rainier — the margin between retired Sheriff Gary Edwards and Democrat Kelsey Hulse stayed about the same in Wednesday’s count.

Edwards had 53.9 percent, or 58,189 ballots, and Hulse had 45.9 percent, or 49,576 ballots, in the latest count.

Hulse said Tuesday she wanted to wait for later ballot counts, but Edwards has declared victory in his quest to replace retiring commissioner Sandra Romero.

In the race for Thurston County Superior Court Position 1, Chris Lanese has about 50.3 percent of the vote — a 969-vote lead over Laura Murphy, who has about 49.3 percent of the vote.

The winner will take the seat held by Judge Chris Wickham.

The next ballot count is scheduled to be released at 6 p.m. Friday, and the election is scheduled to be certified Nov. 29. On Thursday evening, Auditor Mary Hall said about 12,900 ballots were left to be counted, which is higher than what was previously reported by her office. An error was made while numbers were posted on the website Wednesday.

Even though most government offices are closed Friday to observe Veterans Day, the elections staff will be counting ballots, Hall said.

“We’ll be here on Saturday, if anyone wants to observe the process,” she said.

Lisa Pemberton: 360-754-5433, @Lisa_Pemberton

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