With most ballots counted Tuesday night, results show most West Plains incumbents winning, most ballot measures losing
Tuesday’s preliminary general election results indicated two things.
One, it was a good night for incumbents, especially on the West Plains; and two, it was a bad night for ballot measures.
After the first count of 81,352 ballots countywide, all but one of the seven contested elections in Cheney, Medical Lake, Airway Heights and the Cheney School District were tilting fairly heavily in favor of the incumbent. With just 17,500 ballots left to count, it was safe to say Tuesday night who the winners were, the lone exception being a pair of local propositions.
In Cheney, incumbent City Councilman John Taves was well on his way to winning his Position 3 seat, leading challenger Dan Hilton with 58.85 percent of the vote. This would be Taves’ first election win, having been appointed to the council by Mayor Tom Trulove in late summer 2012.
“I’m very pleased to be in a good position at this point,” Taves said when reached at home Tuesday evening.
Taves cited the hard work he put into the campaign beginning last summer by going to concerts and movies in the park and other events to reach out to prospective voters and residents as one factor contributing to his apparent success. He also praised his campaign volunteers as well.
“It’s not just me, it’s the whole team that helped,” he said. “I’m looking forward to working with the council, and we’ve got a great council, and I’m ready to work with whomever comes on.”
That “whomever” appears to be challenger Chris Grover, who with 56.98 percent of the vote was leading incumbent Fred Pollard in the race for Council Position 1.
“I’m happy so many people supported me,” Grover said Tuesday night. Grover said he has some “great friends” who got out and helped spread the word, and he felt honored that many people he talked to at various public events responded well to his candidacy.
Grover said he was looking forward to working on the council, finding out what committees he would be able to serve on and getting comfortable knowing his fellow council members.
In Medical Lake, incumbent John Higgins was safely ahead of challenger Mikeal Suniga in the race for mayor with 64.14 percent of the vote. In the two contested council races, incumbent Brenda Redell led challenger Chris Stein with 56.59 percent of the vote for Position 1 while incumbent Shirley Maike was easily defeating challenger Donald B. Kennedy with 58.87 percent of the vote.
Airway Heights’ lone contested council race saw incumbent Steven Lawrence leading challenger Jack Collins with 55.33 percent of the vote for Position 2.
Winning re-election by running unopposed were Cheney Mayor Tom Trulove and Councilwoman Teresa Overhauser, Airway Heights Mayor Patrick Rushing and council members Tanya D. Dashiell and Doyle Inman, and Medical Lake council members Arthur (AJ) Burton and Destiny Stein.
In the only contested school board race, incumbent Suzanne Dolle was safely wining re-election with 65.33 percent of the voter over challenger Kippie Shadix in the Cheney School District Director 2 race. Running unopposed and winning re-election was Marcie Estrellado for Director District 1 and Henry Browne for Director District 3.
In Medical Lake School District, unopposed incumbents Kelly Fouts, Director District 1, and Margaret (Peggy) Schweikhardt, Director District 5, were also re-elected.
While incumbent candidates were enjoying re-election by comfortable margins for the most part, the same couldn’t be said for various propositions measures and statewide initiatives. In Airway Heights, Proposition 1 creating a transportation benefit district sales tax was narrowly losing by just two votes at press time, 240-238.
Spokane County Proposition 1, which would impose a levy on assessed property values that would raise $18 million over nine years to protect encroachment on Fairchild Air Force Base by allowing the purchase of mobile home parks in Airway Heights, was also being narrowly defeated with 51 percent no votes.
Also going down to defeat, but not so narrowly, was Initiative 517, which would make changes giving initiative signature gathers greater leeway. I-517 was receiving a 60 percent no vote statewide, with 53.17 percent of Spokane County voters rejecting the measure.
I-522, which would require the labeling of genetically engineered foods was also going down to defeat with 53 percent of statewide voters saying no and 62.14 percent in Spokane County.
John McCallum can be reached at email@example.com.