Yelm City Council Position No. 1 challenger James Blair took the lead late last week in his bid to unseat incumbent EJ Curry after initially trailing on election night.
The 31-year-old led the race by 35 votes as of Tuesday morning. The next count won’t be released until the election is certified late this month.
On election night, Yelm city council incumbents led their respective races, but Curry was notably ahead by just 8 votes — a sign that it was anyone’s race.
Blair now leads Curry 658 votes to 623.
After taking the lead Thursday night, Blair said he was very optimistic that the late-tallied votes would lean in his favor.
“I don’t want to count my chickens just yet, but I’m feeling pretty good about the chances of a successful campaign,” Blair wrote in a Facebook message. “However the final results turn out, this has been a very humbling experience, and I appreciate everyone’s support.”
Curry was hoping to see her count widen as the race progressed.
“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.”
It’s unlikely the ballot count could narrow to the point of a recount, triggering 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.
Blair currently holds 51.13 percent of the vote while curry holds 48.41 percent.
In the race for Yelm council position No. 2, incumbent Molly Carmody is way ahead of challenger Cameron “Calamity” Jayne, 901 to 339 votes in initial results.
“I honestly hope the trend continues. I congratulate my opponent on a race well-fought,” Carmody said on election night.
Councilmember Joe DePinto’s second term also looks likely. He leads challenger Matthew McLellan 832 votes to 449.
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 344 votes with 16 write-ins against him.
Kemp’s position No. 4 seat on the council went surprisingly contested. The Rainier council incumbent led the race with 234 votes, but 162 write-ins were cast against him. Bud Greene was running a write-in campaign for the seat.
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 held more than 90 percent of the vote, with a few write-ins cast against them, by Tuesday press time.
Bald Hills Proposition 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 by press deadline, 541 votes for to 269 votes against.
Election results are set to be certified Tuesday, Nov. 26.
City of Tenino Mayoral Race
Tenino Mayoral incumbent Wayne Fournier is leading his race with 62.01 percent of the vote, as of press time, with a hefty number of write-in candidate votes against him.
Fournier leads with 204 votes and 125 write-in votes were cast.
Tenino School Board
Ryan Hilton, Adama Barr, Tamara Schroder and Forrest Bergin all led their respective races for the Tenino School District Board of Directors by press time.
Schroder’s run for reelection was the only one contested by a challenger. She leads her challenger, Reva Rice, 1,427 votes to 825, with 62.59 percent of the vote.