Cheney, Medical Lake, Airway Heights and other West Plains voters decided to inaugurate their first year in the Legislative 6th District by electing one of their own to serve a two-year term in the state House.
Cheney-area resident Republican Jeff Holy was in command of winning the Position 2 seat upon release of initial election results Tuesday evening, holding a 54-45 percent lead over Democrat Dennis Dellwo. It’s Holy’s second run for elected office, losing in the primaries of the 2010 race for District 3 Spokane County Commissioner.
In the only other West Plains contest, Medical Lake’s EMS levy, Proposition 1, was well on its way to passage with 71 percent of the vote.
In other county races, voters decided that the Board of County Commissioners should remain in Republican control. In the race for District 1 commissioner, incumbent Todd Mielke was enjoying a comfortable lead over former commissioner John Roskelley, 53-46 percent while in the race for the open District 2 seat, Republican Shelly O’Quinn held a 54-45 percent lead over Democrat Daryl Romeyn.
Finally, incumbent Congresswoman Republican Cathy McMorris Rodgers was well on her way to winning her fifth term in the nation’s Capital, leading Democratic challenger Rich Cowan 61-39 percent in voting in the 5th District, and 60-39 percent in Spokane County.
“I am humbled and excited that a strong majority of Eastern Washington voters showed their continued confidence in me and our positive, constructive ideas for America’s future by re-electing me to a fifth term in Congress,” McMorris Rodgers said in a news release. “As a member of the House Republican Leadership team, I will keep working with my colleagues in a bipartisan way to pass legislation to create jobs, make government more accountable, and keep the American Dream alive for the next generation.”
In the race of Senate, county voters were in favor or returning Democrat Maria Cantwell to office, giving her a 50-49 edge over Republican challenger, 6th District Sen. Michael Baumgartner, although Cantwell was enjoying a comfortable 59-40 percent lead statewide.
In the race for governor, Democrat Jay Inslee was led in statewide balloting 52-48 percent over former attorney general, Republican Rob McKenna, although McKenna enjoyed a 56-44 percent advantage locally.
In several high-profile ballot measures, Spokane County voters joined with others statewide to reaffirm a two-thirds majority vote in the Legislature in order to pass any tax or fee increases by approving Initiative 1185 by over 70 percent, with 64 percent approving it statewide. Voters also approved the legalization and taxation of marijuana for person over age 21, approving I-502 by 55 percent margin statewide, 52 percent locally.
County voter narrowly favored the creation of charters schools, approving I-1240 50.50-49-50 percent, with the measure passing statewide by about the same margin, making the outcome too close to call. Voters here however rejected the rights of same-sex couples to marry, voting down Referendum 74 by 56 percent. Statewide however, R-74 was passing with 52 percent of the vote, joining Washington with Maine and Maryland in passing similar measures.
In other races, Brad Owen (D) was leading Bill Finkbeiner (R) in the race for lieutenant governor, 53-46 while Kim Wyman (R) and Kathleen Drew (D) were at a virtual dead heat in the race for secretary of state with Wyman leading 50-49. In the race for attorney general, Bob Ferguson (D) was ahead of Reagan Dunn (R) 53-47, Peter Goldmark (D) led Clint Didier (R) 55-42 for lands commissioner, Jim McIntire (D) led Sharon Hanek (R) 58-42 for state treasurer, Troy Kelly (D) led James Watkins (R) for state auditor and Mike Kreidler (D) led John R. Adams (R) 58-42 in the race for insurance commissioner.
In all the above races except one, Spokane County voters preferred the Republican candidates. The lone exception was public lands commissioner where Goldmark led Didier 51-49 percent.
Voter turnout in Spokane County was 56.45 percent, well ahead of the statewide average of 39.59 percent, although a check of county totals on the Washington Secretary of State’s website indicated many counties with a high number of ballots remaining to be counted. Secretary of State Ralph Reed predicted an 81 percent turnout.
John McCallum can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.