(By Brandon Hansen/Chewelah Independent)
State rep and senate races get most votes…
With results finalized in the primary election, voter turnout was down as 35.2 percent of Stevens County voters actually cast a ballot on Aug. 1.
That is down from 39 percent in 2016, but that election had more statewide positions on the ballot, meaning more Stevens County voters could cast a ballot. This year has many contested races locally, as locally Chewelah saw eight races they could narrow down for the general election.
“Washington’s top two primary is unique,” Stevens County Republicans chairman Lori Larsen said. “Only California and Louisiana (in some races) use this style of primary election. It has the effect or making the primary more like a general election, and the general election more like a runoff election. In this way, our primary is an important time for voters to express their positions by the candidates they support.”
This year’s primary election, was still better than 2015 when 21 percent of Stevens County voters cast a ballot. Only two local matters were on the ballot that year, a levy for the Evergreen School District and a school board position for Mary Walker in Springdale, so the number of people that could vote were far fewer.
Stevens County has 30,191 registered voters and 10,637 cast a ballot in this election. That turnout ranks ninth in the state so far in the counting process.
The race for state senator between Karen Hardy and Shelly Short. In the entire legislative district, 29,778 votes were cast. Republican incumbent Shelly Short received 20,023 to 9,755 for Hardy but the Democratic candidate was pleased with the turnout.
“We had a great primary showing,” Hardy’s campaign Facebook page said. “We exceeded projections and expectations in every county.
Together we proved we are not just tilting at wind mills.”
The focus from here on out, the statement from Hardy’s campaign said, was to increase turnout.
“We need every person who voted for me to convince at least one other person or maybe two to vote for me,” Hardy said.
The U.S. Census data estimates Stevens County’s population is 44,439 and the 7th legislative district holds Ferry, Pend Oreille, Stevens and parts of Spokane and Okanogan counties.
The race for state representative between Susan Swanson and Jacquelin Maycumber garnered 29,674 votes in the legislative district. Republican incumbent Jacquelin Maycumber earned 19,599 votes while Democratic Challenger Susan Swanson earned 10,075 votes.
“Congratulations to our 7th District legislators Shelly Short and Jacquelin Maycumber who, despite concentrated efforts by the Democrats, pulled off decisive wins in last night’s primary,” The Spokane Republicans posted after Aug. 1 on their official Facebook page.
In Chewelah, the race with the most votes was the Chewelah School District Director Pos. No. 1 as 1,530 ballots were cast. The mayor’s race earned 699 votes and other local races earned fewer votes than that. Judith Bean got 820 votes or 53 percent of the vote, while TO Bakken received 430 votes to move on to the general election. Bill Lacy was eliminated from the school director race.
Chewelah mayor Dorothy Knauss received 348 votes in that race, which accounts for 49 percent of ballots. Challenger Bob Belknap received 301 votes or 43 percent. Candidate David Wantland was eliminated in the primary, getting 50 votes.
In the Chewelah City Council No. 1 position, Nicole Norvell got 329 votes for 52 percent of the vote while John H. Kabosky got 239 votes to move on the to the general election.
In the Council No. 2 position, candidate Cori Wuesthoff received 369 votes or 58 percent of the vote while incumbent Dee Henderson received 160 votes to move on to the general election.