Buchanan widens lead for at-large seat on County Council, lead changes in Port race

Barry Buchanan widened his lead in the race for the at-large seat on the Whatcom County Council, according to unofficial results on Wednesday.

Buchanan, who is in his first term on the council, had 52.1 percent of the votes. Challenger Mary Kay Robinson had 47.8 percent. A total of 2,151 votes separated them.

“I’m very optimistic and look forward to tomorrow’s (Thursday) count,” said Buchanan, who seemed to be headed for a second term on the County Council.

This election season was the first to have new Whatcom County Council districts, which voters approved in 2016.

Seats in new Districts 1, 2 and 3, plus one at-large seat, were up for election this year.

Tyler Byrd seemed to have won the new District 3 seat. He was holding on to his more than 8 percent lead over Rebecca Boonstra.

He had 54 percent of the vote. She had 45.9 percent.

“It doesn’t look good,” Boonstra acknowledged, but she wasn’t ready to concede.

“We still want to wait and see. I would probably give it another (ballot count) cycle,” she added. “I’m still holding on to a small hope that maybe things will turn around, but I’m not being unrealistic either.”

In the race for the new District 1 seat, incumbent Rud Browne easily won a second term on the County Council.

Todd Donovan, halfway into his first term on the council, was elected to the new District 2 seat.

The County Council will appoint someone to finish Donovan’s current term.

Port of Bellingham

Two of the three seats on the Port of Bellingham were up for election, and one remained a squeaker.

In a reversal of the first count on Tuesday night, challenger Michael Shepard now has a thin lead over

incumbent Dan Robbins, who was seeking a second term.

Shepard had 50.8 percent of the votes while Robbins had 49.1 percent.

Shepard was up by 839 votes as of Wednesday.

In the seat left open by Michael McAuley, who didn’t seek a third term, Ken Bell remained ahead of Barry Wenger.

Bell had 51.3 percent of the votes to Wenger’s 48.6 percent.

The next vote tally will be released around 5 p.m. Thursday, according to the Whatcom County Auditor’s Office. The election will be certified Nov. 28.

Kie Relyea: 360-715-2234, @kierelyea

Whatcom voters reject sales tax to fund new jail

The ballot measure to create a two-tenths of 1 percent sales tax to fund a new jail (Proposition 2017-6) was failing by a margin of 58.48 percent to 41.52 percent, according to the latest returns released by the Whatcom County Auditor’s Office Wednesday afternoon.

The unofficial ballot count Wednesday was 30,296 votes against, and 21,506 votes for the measure. The next count will be released 5 p.m. Thursday. The votes will be certified Nov. 28.

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