Seth Fleetwood and April Barker held their leads for Bellingham mayor in Tuesday’s primary election.
A count of ballots released at 4:35 p.m. Wednesday in Washington state’s vote-by-mail election showed Fleetwood still in the lead with 29% of the vote, followed by Barker with 26%
Pinky Vargas was third with 23%, followed by Garrett O’Brien, who was in fourth place with 22%.
Only the two candidates with the most votes advance to the Nov. 5 general election.
“We peaked at the right time,” Fleetwood said in an interview with The Bellingham Herald Wednesday afternoon. “People were feeling positive about the campaign in recent weeks. We started getting some good vibes.”
Barker credited her strong showing to a grassroots neighborhood effort.
“Our message really hit at the doors,” she said in an interview Wednesday afternoon with The Herald. “There’s a lot of gratitude. People worked very hard.”
Vargas wasn’t available for comment Tuesday or Wednesday.
O’Brien said in an interview Tuesday night that he was disappointed at the vote, but hopeful for the city’s future.
“I think we brought a lot of attention to (the issue of) housing,” O’Brien said. “We worked hard, ran a positive campaign. (Bellingham) is going to be OK no matter who wins.”
Wednesday’s updated count included ballots received by mail Wednesday and ballots that were deposited in drop boxes Tuesday afternoon and evening and collected Wednesday morning, said Chief Deputy Auditor Diana Bradrick.
Turnout for Tuesday’s primary was 37% of Whatcom County’s 147,254 registered voters, according to the Auditor’s Office website.
Some 19 people took advantage of the state’s new same-day voter registration, said Elections Division worker Jessie Smiley.
In another race of interest to Bellingham voters, Republican Daniel Miller of Friday Harbor moved into second place in the 40th District state Senate race with 28% of the vote.
Democratic state Sen. Liz Lovelett of Anacortes continued to lead with 48%.
Bellingham lawyer Carrie Blackwood, a Democrat, fell to third place with 22%.
In fourth place was Democrat Greta Aitken of Burlington with 1%.
Votes for the 40th District race come from San Juan, Skagit and Whatcom counties.
In other Bellingham races:
Bellingham City Council Ward 3
City Council member Daniel Hammill was leading with 63% of the vote in the city’s Ward 3 that includes the downtown business district, Whatcom Falls Park, and parts of the neighborhoods of Lettered Streets, York, Sunnyland, Cornwall Park, Roosevelt and Alabama Hill. Ashanti Monts-Treviska was in second place with 25% and Raymond A. Straka was in third with 11%.
Bellingham City Council at-large
Bellingham business owner Hollie Huthman was leading with 67%. Dana Briggs was in second place with 21% and Von Emeth Ochoa was in third with 11%.