Primary tallies: Selby leads in mayoral primary, but ‘it’s a whole new ballgame,’ says second-place finisher

Thurston County elections staff sorts ballots Tuesday at the county’s processing center in Tumwater.
Thurston County elections staff sorts ballots Tuesday at the county’s processing center in Tumwater. sbloom@theolympian.com

Tuesday’s primary results were good news for most incumbents on the Olympia City Council.

In the four-way mayor’s primary, Mayor Cheryl Selby had 41 percent of the initial vote count, followed by newcomer David Ross with 26 percent. Nathaniel Jones, who has served as a member of the City Council since 2012 and whose term expires this year, had 23 percent, while Brenden Clerget, a first-time candidate, had 7 percent, according to unofficial results from the Thurston County Auditor’s Office.

The top two will move on to November’s general election.

Phil Cornell, who dropped out of the race but whose name still appeared on the ballot, got 2 percent.

“I definitely feel supported. There were a lot of names up there, really good names,” Selby told The Olympian. “I think my message is resonating with folks.”

But Ross said his second-place finish in Tuesday’s ballot count showed voters are looking for a change. He is hoping his campaign’s focus on downtown revitalization will resonate with people concerned about homelessness, economic development and the environment.

“It’s a whole new ballgame now,” he said of the general election campaign.

He noted low turnout in the primary — as of Tuesday, turnout was about 20 percent — and predicted many more voters will come out for the general election.

Olympia’s mayor votes as one of the seven City Council members, who are each elected by voters across the city, not by wards or districts.

In the two other City Council races on the primary ballot, incumbent Jessica Bateman and Dani Madrone, a first-time council candidate, had large leads in early returns.

In the Position No. 2 race, Bateman had 52 percent, followed by Phyllis Booth with 24 percent and Alyssa Humbert with 19 percent.

For Position No. 3, the seat currently held by Jones, Madrone had 58 percent, followed by Matt Goldenberg with 26 percent and Boudicca Walsh with 10 percent.

“This is kind of a test to see how aligned I am with the voting community and I think it’s a really good result,” Madrone told The Olympian.

In Lacey, Malcolm Miller led three other candidates vying for an open seat on the City Council with 35 percent of the first vote tally, followed by Sarah Jean Morris with 27 percent. Both are first-time candidates.

In school district races, Maria Flores, who works at the state’s Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction, had a significant lead in the race for Olympia School Board with 58 percent of the vote, followed by Heath Howerton with 19 percent in Tuesday’s count.

In North Thurston Public Schools, incumbent Gretchen Maliska was leading with 43 percent of the vote, followed by Jason Noahr with 37 percent.

Elsewhere on the ballot, replacement levies for West Thurston Regional Fire Authority and McLane Black Lake Fire Department were passing in early returns. The levies required 60 percent approval and a certain number of voters to return ballots to pass.

Property owners near Summit Lake were voting down a proposal to create a special tax district to fund lake restoration and water quality enhancement. Turnout in that race was 64 percent as of Tuesday’s count.

The next ballot count was scheduled for late Wednesday afternoon. An estimated 10,000 ballots were waiting to be counted, according to the auditor’s office.