Hover, Branch and Asmussen lead in first count of General Election votes

Gary DeVon/staff photo A Tonasket area voter drops her ballot off at one  of three ballot boxes in the county. According to Tonasket Mayor Patrick Plumb and City Clerk Alice Attwood, the box outside City Hall has been well used, with  voters dropping off their  ballots as late as 7:59 p.m. on election night.

Gary DeVon/staff photo
A Tonasket area voter drops her ballot off at one of three ballot boxes in the county. According to Tonasket Mayor Patrick Plumb and City Clerk Alice Attwood, the box outside City Hall has been well used, with voters dropping off their ballots as late as 7:59 p.m. on election night.

“That’s a pretty good lead… there are still a few votes to count.”

Chris Branch, candidate for Commissioner Position 1

“I am happy with my lead, but I’m not counting any chickens yet.”

Andy Hover, candidate for Commissioner Position 2

Asmussen is way ahead for PUD Commissioner position

OKANOGAN – While it’s too soon to call any races, there are some interesting results in local contests in the first ballot count in Tuesday’s General Election.

Chris Branch

Chris Branch

Chris Branch’s message of change seems to have struck a cord with many county voters as he has about a 400 vote lead over incumbent Shielah Kennedy in the race for Okanogan County Commissioner Position 1. Branch, who ran as an Independent, received 3,613 votes in the first count, while Kennedy, a Republican, received 3,199.

“That’s a pretty good lead, but that’s all I can say, there are still a few votes to count,” said Branch, who was with friends and supporters on election night.

“I hope it continues to trend that way,” added Branch, Oroville’s Director of Community Development.

Andy Hover

Andy Hover

Andy Hover, a Republican, also has more votes than his opponent Ashley Trasher, who did not declare a party. The two first-time political candidates are seeking the Okanogan County Commissioner Position 2 seat after knocking incumbent Ray Campbell out of the race in the Primary Election. Hover had 3,616 ballots in his favor compared to Thrasher who had 3,141.

When asked about how he felt about his lead Tuesday night, Hover said, “It’s hard for me to say because I haven’t been in enough political elections to know. I hope the percentages stay in my favor.”

Hover, whose father is a former Okanogan County Commissioner, pointed out that there is a potential that nearly as many votes remain to be counted as have been already tallied.

“I am happy with my lead, but I’m not counting any chickens yet, especially when you consider my dad lost reelection by 10 votes,” he said.

Jerry-Asmussen-29In perhaps the next most watched local race, Jerry Asmussen was 1,209 votes in front of Aaron Kester for the open seat on the Okanogan County PUD board in Position 3. Asmussen, a rancher and auctioneer who serves on the Tonasket School Board, had 3,665 votes counted on election night, while 2,456 went to Kester.

This is just the first count of ballots and there are still an estimated 7,427 left to count, according to Okanogan County election officials, so leads could change as more ballots that were postmarked by election day come into the auditor’s office. The next ballot count is set for Monday, Nov. 14, with the certification date set for Tuesday, Nov. 29.

It was no surprise that conservative Okanogan County favored Republican candidates for federal and state offices. They voted overwhelmingly for Donald Trump for U.S. president; Chris Vance for U.S. Senate and Dan Newhouse for the U.S. House of Representatives. They also like Bill Bryant over incumbent governor Jay Inslee. They chose the Republican in every state race where there was a Democratic challenger. They also voted to return Rep. Joel Kretz, from Wauconda, to the state House of Representatives.

For more on the election results in Okanogan County, visit the Okanogan County Auditor’s website at http://results.vote.wa.gov/results/current/okanogan/.

See related story: Second Election Count

About Gary DeVon

Gary DeVon is the managing editor of the Okanogan Valley Gazette-Tribune and celebrated his 25th year at the newspaper in August 2012. He graduated from Gonzaga University with a degree in Communications - Print Journalism, with an emphasis in photojournalism. He is a proud alumnus of Oroville High School. His family first settled in Okanogan County in the late 1800s. His parents are Judy DeVon and the late Larry DeVon and he has two younger brothers - Dante and Michael. Many family members still call Oroville home. He has a grown daughter, Segornae Douglas and a young granddaughter, Erin.