Yelm city council incumbents led their respective races Tuesday evening in this year’s general election, but one challenger has closed in on his incumbent more than others.
Position No. 1 incumbent EJ Curry led challenger James Blair by a total of 8 votes — 346 to 338 — according to initial results posted by the Thurston County Auditor’s Office on election night, Nov. 5.
Blair said the unofficial results were encouraging and that he expected a really close race after trailing Curry by a slim margin in the primary. Curry ended up on top in that election, but bested Blair by just 13 votes.
“I thought it was going to be close and it definitely is,” Blair said. “It’s gonna go either way at this point.”
A couple days after the general election, Curry said she was glad to see that she was sustaining the lead and hopes to see her count widen as the race progresses.
“I doorbelled the town twice. Once for the primary and once for the general,” she said. “I’m Just anxious for this to get over, get everything counted.”
If the ballot counts narrow, the race could head to a machine recount. According to the Thurston County Auditor’s Office, two criteria must be met for a recount; the race must be less than a 2,000-vote difference and the difference must be less than one-half of 1 percent.
Curry currently holds 50.29 percent of the vote while Blair holds 49.13 percent.
In the race for Yelm council position No. 2, incumbent Molly Carmody led Cameron “Calamity” Jayne 460 to 185 votes in initial results.
“I honestly hope the trend continues. I congratulate my opponent on a race well-fought,” Carmody said.
Councilmember Joe DePinto’s second term also looks likely. He leads his challenger Matthew McLellan 425 votes to 250.
DePinto took in the initial results at the Yelm Fraternal Order of Eagles, coincidentally alongside Blair. While DePinto was pleased with his election results, he told the Nisqually Valley News that his eyes were mostly drawn to the contest for position 1.
“Honestly, I’m really looking forward to the other races … If James gets elected, it’s going to be interesting being on the council. He would be a real conservative voice on the council,” DePinto said, adding that he also enjoys serving alongside Curry.
Carmody also said she was interested in the Curry-Blair runoff.
“That one is definitely a nailbiter. Both candidates are really qualified and I think it’s going to be an interesting race,” she said.
Voter turnout across Thurston County was relatively low at about 22.5 percent. Almost 41,900 ballots were cast.
Rainier Council Races
Rainier council incumbents George Johnson and Ron Kemp led their respective races Tuesday night. Both races were uncontested.
For position No. 2, Johnson tallied 180 votes with 8 write-ins. Sixty-two undervotes were recorded.
Kemp’s position No. 4 seat on the council went surprisingly contested. The Rainier council incumbent led the race with 125 votes, but 80 write-ins were cast against him. Bud Greene was running a write-in campaign for the seat. About 45 undervotes were recorded.
Roy Council Races
Roy council incumbents Yvonne Starks, Shane Clark-Crisler and Harvey Gilchrist each led their own uncontested races for reelection, initial results show. All candidates were hovering around 90 percent of the vote.
Bald Hills Prop Passing
Bald Hills Fire Protection District’s Proposition No. 1, which would reauthorize a regular taxing rate of $1.50 per $1,000 of assessed value to fund the all-volunteer station, was passing Tuesday night, 315 votes for and 186 votes against.
Election results are set to be certified Tuesday, Nov. 26.
Story updated Thursday, Nov. 7.