2 of the 3 holders of the municipal council of Olympia at the top of the first returns
Outgoing Olympia city council members are expected to feature on the ballot in the November general election, but the vote tally has remained very close in at least two races after Tuesday’s count.
Primary voters selected candidates for positions 2, 5, 6 and 7 in Olympia City Council. The first two voters in the primary will move on to the November ballot, when citizens will also vote for who will occupy council position 4.
For position 2 currently held by Yến Huỳnh, Huỳnh was the best voter on Tuesday with 3,817 votes, followed by Robbi Kessler with 2,998 votes. Bruce Wilkinson Jr., bus driver for the North Thurston School District, received just 556 votes.
For position 7 currently held by Jim Cooper, Spence Weigand narrowly led Cooper 3,131 to 3,090. Tyrone Dion Brown got only 1,193 votes.
For position 6, where there is no incumbent, Dontae Payne was in the lead with 3,821 votes against Corey Gauny with 2,277 votes. Sarah DeStasio, a democratic socialist, had just 1,334 votes Tuesday night.
However, the race for position 5, currently held by Lisa Parshley, was neck and neck with the three close candidates. Tuesday’s tally gave Parshley 2,745 votes, Wendy Carlson 2,426 votes and Talauna Reed 2,110 votes.
The county will certify the results of the primary elections on August 17 after an additional count of the ballots. Auditor Mary Hall estimates that about 10,000 more ballots from county drop boxes have yet to be counted and that today’s stamped mail-in ballots are still on the way.
Only about 40,000 ballots, or a participation rate of 20.4%, were counted Tuesday evening.
Position 4 did not appear on the primary ballot as the race has only two candidates, titular Clark Gilman and challenger Candace Mercer, who will appear on the November ballot.
Talauna Reed’s campaign manager told The Olympian on Tuesday that the campaign hopes Reed will receive more votes as the county continues to count the ballots. “Traditionally younger voters and new voters tend to vote at the last minute,” said Derek Ball. “So we expect a big turnout tomorrow as the rest of the numbers roll in. “
Ball said Reed was excited, “and whatever the outcome, we know Talauna is going to continue to fight for justice in this community, and this community is going to get her back 100%.”
Wendy Carlson, a former corrections officer, received about 33% of the vote in her race, which she said was “right where we expected it to be.” Carlson “can’t wait to face my challenger” in the general election.
Parshley could not be reached by The Olympian for comment.
The crowded field of candidates campaigned on issues of affordable housing, homelessness, public safety and downtown improvement.
Weigand garnered 42% of the votes counted Tuesday, edging out Cooper. Weigand said the results “reflected community attitudes about the city’s current direction.”
Weigand campaigned to increase affordable housing and development by relaxing regulations and said the city’s response to homelessness was to “enable” people who are homeless.
Cooper could not be reached by The Olympian for comment.
Payne has received the most votes of any candidate for city council so far. Payne is running for position 6, which incumbent Renata Rollins is leaving.
Payne said he felt amazing at the results of the evening and that “it seems my message is resonating with members of the community, so I intend to continue sharing this message.” Payne said he would continue to door-to-door until the election.
Huỳnh, who was appointed to take the seat of Jessica Bateman’s council following Bateman’s election to the state legislature, said she had been thrilled to see the results all day, as he was his first election.
“To see the unofficial results appear on screen – I was just overwhelmed with joy, really,” she said.
Huỳnh looks likely to be on the November ballot with Robbi Kesler, the former general counsel for the Confederate Chehalis tribes and member of the Skokomish tribe in Mason County.
Kesler emailed the statement to The Olympian, saying: “I will continue to work hard to get my message across to voters – so that they are informed of my qualifications and opinions. I look forward to the next few months of the campaign.