Debra Lekanoff kept her solid lead in Tuesday’s primary election for an open 40th District House seat as more ballot totals were counted late Thursday afternoon.
Lekanoff had 29 percent of the vote in the six-way race in a tally updated at 5 p.m. Thursday.
But it was a close race among Democrats Rud Browne and Alex Ramel and Republican Michel Petrish — raising the possibility of a recount for the second ballot position in the Nov. 6 general election.
No other races on the Whatcom County ballot changed significantly after Thursday’s totals, the third day of counting in Washington state’s vote-by-mail primary election.
Under Washington’s primary election system, the top two candidates advance to the general election, regardless of party affiliation.
Meanwhile, Whatcom County Council member Tim Ballew II conceded late Wednesday to Pinky Vargas, a member of the Bellingham City Council.
Vargas was leading Ballew, a fellow Democrat, by 29 percent to 25 percent after the Whatcom County Auditor’s Office released an updated ballot count at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday.
In an email sent about 8 p.m. Wednesday, Ballew promised to support Vargas in her bid to unseat two-term state Sen. Doug Ericksen.
Ericksen, a Republican, led the three-way race with 46 percent of the vote in the traditionally conservative district that covers northern Whatcom County.
Some 9,000 ballots were outstanding Wednesday, but Vargas led Ballew by 1,237 votes.
“It is inspiring to see the diversity of candidates in races across the country,” Ballew said.
Ballew pledged Democratic Party unity and referred to Vargas as his election partner, rather than his opponent.
“Women and people of color are bringing a welcome and often unheard voice to politics. I urge all my supporters to support Pinky and the change she will bring to Olympia,” he said.
Ericksen, who served 12 years in the state House before running for Senate, said he welcomed the chance to compete with Vargas and challenged her to a series of one-on-one debates before the general election.
All that remains to be decided from Tuesday’s primary is who will face Lekanoff in November for the 40th District House seat being vacated by Rep. Kristine Lytton.
Four Democrats and two Republicans were running for the seat in a historically Democratic district covering parts of Whatcom, Skagit and San Juan counties.
As of 5 p.m. Thursday, Browne and Ramel each had 20 percent of the vote and Petrish had 19 percent.
Votes from Whatcom and San Juan counties were included in the Thursday tally, but not Skagit County, where Petrish was drawing a larger share of the vote.
Ramel had 6,606 votes, Browne had 6,592 votes and Petrish had 6,592 votes.
Whatcom County Auditor Debbie Adelstein said a mandatory recount is triggered if the difference between candidates is less than 0.5 percent.
Some 139,750 Whatcom County residents were registered to vote in the primary, for a voter turnout of 48.8 percent.
Robert Mittendorf: 360-756-2805, @BhamMitty
Unofficial results at 5:04 pm Thursday, August 9
Whatcom County Prosecuting Attorney
|James Erb (D)||21,887||42%|
|Eric Richey (D)||30,288||58%|
County Council At-Large, Position B
State Representative, 40th District, Position 1
|Rud Browne (D)||6,592||20%|
|Debra Lekanoff (D)||9,727||29%|
|Daniel Miller (R)||1,989||6%|
|Tom Pasma (D)||1,935||6%|
|Michael Petrish (R)||6,320||19%|
|Alex Ramel (D)||6,606||20%|
State Representative, 40th District, Position 2
|Jeff Morris (D)*||23,665||100%|
State Senator, 42nd District
|Doug Ericksen (R)||18,815||46%|
|Tim Ballew II (D)||10,296||25%|
|Pinky Vargas (D)||11,804||29%|
State Representative, 42nd District, Position 1
|Dean Berkeley (R)||2,008||5%|
|Justin Boneau (D)||20,633||51%|
|Luanne Van Werven (R)*||18,110||44%|
State Representative, 42nd District, Position 2
|Vincent Buys (R)*||19,466||48%|
|Sharon Shewmake (D)||21,221||52%|
|Thor Amundson (I)||7,490||1%|
|Dave Bryant (R)||26,840||2%|
|Jon Butler (I)||1,578||0%|
|Maria Cantwell (D)*||749,736||56%|
|Art Coday (R)||21,309||2%|
|James Robert "Jimmie" Deal (G)||2,999||0%|
|Jennifer Gigi Ferguson (I)||19,032||1%|
|Roque "Rocky" De La Fuente (R)||4,506||0%|
|Joey Gibson (R)||30,497||2%|
|Matt Hawkins (R)||9,901||1%|
|Matthew D. Heines (R)||6,189||0%|
|Susan Hutchison (R)||324,326||24%|
|Charlie R Jackson (I)||1,919||0%|
|George H. Kalberer (D)||2,003||0%|
|Mike Luke (L)||9,237||1%|
|John Orlinski (R)||5,393||0%|
|Tim Owen (R)||18,359||1%|
|Don L. Rivers (D)||9,719||1%|
|Mohammad Said (D)||6,716||1%|
|RC Smith (R)||1,818||0%|
|Glen R Stockwell (R)||9,388||1%|
|Dave Strider (I)||5,356||0%|
|Keith Swank (R)||31,749||2%|
|Clint R. Tannehill (D)||27,394||2%|
U.S. Representative, 1st District
|Jeffrey Beeler (R)||35,131||25%|
|Suzan DelBene (D)*||83,081||60%|
|Scott Stafne (R)||15,384||11%|
U.S. Representative, 2nd District
|Stoney Bird (G)||5,240||4%|
|Collin Richard Carlson (D)||8,749||7%|
|Gary Franco (I)||8,698||7%|
|Rick Larsen (D)*||77,825||66%|
|Brian Luke (L)||8,434||7%|
Court of Appeals, Division 1, District 3 - Judge Position 1
Sources: Washington Secretary of State, Whatcom County Auditor's Office