Of all the local races on the ballot this general election, none is closer than the contest for Chelan County Commissioner. Republican Shon Smith and Independent Bob Bugert are separated by just 300 votes and elections officials still have more than 10,500 ballots left to count. We may not know the winner until Friday.
As of last night’s count, Smith received 9,830 votes – 50.8 percent, and Bugert 9,516 votes – 49.2 percent. Chelan County Commissioner position two covers the Wenatchee Valley from Lake Wenatchee to Sunnyslope and Number 1 Canyon, but voters in the whole county weighed in. County elections officials will continue tabulating ballots and will release another county Friday afternoon.
Democrats’ hopes to topple the highest ranking GOP woman in the U.S. House were dashed as Republican incumbent Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers was re-elected to her eighth term in Congress, representing the greater Spokane area in the 5th Congressional District. Another targeted Republican incumbent, Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, was also leading her Democratic challenger, Carolyn Long, in southwestern Washington.
Democrats saw a bright spot in the open seat in the 8th District, one of the most expensive races in the country, which became a key battleground after Republican Rep. Dave Reichert announced he was retiring at the end of the year. Democrat Kim Schrier leads Republican Dino Rossi 53 percent to 47 percent.
Washington voters have passed measures tightening gun regulations and making it easier to prosecute police for negligent shootings passed. But an initiative that would charge the nation’s first tax on carbon emissions to tackle climate change trailed in early returns Tuesday in the state’s costliest initiative campaign. The fight over whether to make polluters pay for their carbon emissions was closely watched nationwide. The initiative banning municipalities from enacting taxes on soda and other sugary beverages is passing.
Voters in Washington state have approved a measure designed to make it easier to prosecute police for negligent shootings. Initiative 940 is designed to improve police training in de-escalation tactics and eliminate a requirement that prosecutors prove officers acted with malice to get a conviction in negligent shootings. The initiative sponsor, De-Escalate Washington, submitted the measure to the Legislature this year. Lawmakers passed I-940 and a compromise version preferred by lawmakers, activists and police groups. The state Supreme Court ruled that I-940 in its original form would go on the November ballot while the compromise wouldn’t. Initiative sponsors have said they’re focused on getting the measure passed and then expect to work with police groups and others on compromise language.