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Late local numbers favor Democrats

November 20th, 2012 by Steven Gardner

Up until 2010 we who watched elections closely thought we could count on later election numbers in Washington swinging in the Republican direction. In 2010 that changed, so I wanted to see this year whether Democrats had broken a trend, or started a new one.

Based on round numbers, no decimal points, it seems Democrats have again shown their ability to get out the vote late, at least locally. In looking at 10 races of interest to Kitsap residents, three races showed the same percentage points on Nov. 6 and Nov. 20, one swung more Republican and six favored Democrats as later numbers came in.

The governor’s race remained a 51-49 score. Charlotte Garrido still has 52 percent in her race against Linda Simpson in the county commissioner race, and state Rep. Larry Seaquist, D-Gig Harbor, maintained his 54-46 edge over Republican Doug Richards.

Meanwhile Democrat Derek Kilmer, D-Gig Harbor, gained a point in his bid for Congress over Republican Bill Driscoll. Democrat Rob Gelder remained at 55 in his county commissioner race, while Republican Chris Tibbs dropped a point. In the 23rd Legislative District Democrats Sherry Appleton and Drew Hansen gained a point, while Tony Stephens dropped one and James Olsen held steady. In the 35th Democrat Kathy Haigh went from leading with a 50-50 margin to a 51-49 edge over Dan Griffey.

The other race in the 35th saw the biggest swing, though it didn’t change the end result. Republican Drew MacEwen had a 55-45 edge over Lynda Ring-Erickson on election night and as of Tuesday that lead was down to 52-48.

The one race that went bluer redder was Republican Jan Angel’s race against Karin Ashabraner in the 26th District. Angel gained a point while Ashabraner lost one, with Tuesday’s margin at 59-41.

While I was away state Sen. Randi Becker, R-Eatonville, said she’ll introduce a bill to require ballots be on hand in county elections office by election day, rather than having them postmarked by then. She made the announcement on the 14th.

“We’re now more than a week past Election Day and in some areas of the state, people still don’t know who their elected officials are going to be. Those races may be determined by ballots that haven’t even been received yet. Washington has the slowest system in the country for receiving votes, and it’s simply one that needs to be improved.

“This isn’t just a matter of convenience. I can tell you personally that there are many things an incoming legislator must do to get up to speed for a legislative session. Delaying an outcome by days or weeks inhibits their ability to effectively represent their district,” Becker said in a statement.

Republicans did see some key races swing their way in at least one statewide race and in Southwest Washington. Republican Kim Wyman was behind on election night to Democrat Kathleen Drew in the race for Secretary of State, but that 50-50 race is now actually 50.5-49.5 in Wyman’s favor now. In Vancouver Republican Don Benton leads the 17th District state Senate race by 104 votes over Democrat Tim Probst, a margin that makes that race eligible for an automatic recount should the current difference hold. On election night Probst was winning. That race is key because it has the potential of swinging the balance of power in the Senate chamber if Republicans can woo enough Democrats over to form a coalition majority.

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