Pickett has lead on Kerr

Thurston County Public Utility District Commissioner Paul Pickett held a thin lead over challenger Joseph W. "Bud" Kerr in a bid for a second six-year term on the nonpartisan utility board.

Kerr said his chances of overtaking Pickett in the final vote were slim.

"Whatever decision the voters make, I support," he said.

The utility owns and operates 150 water systems serving about 2,900 customers in five counties. It has 10 employees and a 2006 operating budget of $1.8 million. The winner will earn $400 a month in the part-time post.