Third general election ballot count shows no changes in leads

Kennedy congratulates Branch on his win

YourVoteCountsOKANOGAN – While there is still one ballot count scheduled before election certification, yesterday’s count will not affect the eventual outcome of Chris Branch and Andy Hover winning seats on the Okanogan County Board of Commissioners and Jerry Asmussen on the Okanogan County PUD Board.

In fact, Sheilah Kennedy, the incumbent candidate for County Commissioner Position 1, sent out a press release today, Friday, Nov. 18, congratulating Branch on his win.

Chris Branch & Sheilah Kennedy

Chris Branch & Sheilah Kennedy

“I made the decision in 2012 to run for County Commissioner to bring effective leadership to the county. I ran for reelection to continue that leadership of balancing budgets, adopting land use plans that were kicked down the road since 1965, and updating the county facilities plan,” said Kennedy. “We did all of these things while maintaining a balanced budget and putting over $2 million back into county roads. I am proud of my service and the work achieved by Commissioner Campbell and DeTro.”

Kennedy went on to thank all the “many great (county) employees dedicated to their job” and wished them all well and thanked them for the opportunity to work with them.

She then congratulated Branch and invited him to start attending Commissioners meetings and the budget work sessions so “he can start to understand the responsibilities of County Commissioners.”

She also thanked her supporters, elected officials here and statewide, friends and family, for all their support through this political process.”

Branch’s lead grew by a fraction of a percentage point in the last ballot count held Thursday, Nov. 17 at the Okanogan County Auditor’s office. He has 7,864 votes (54.45%) and Kennedy has 6,538 votes (45.27%), a difference of 1,326 votes.

Andy Hover & Ashley Thrasher

Andy Hover & Ashley Thrasher

Hover’s lead shrunk by a fraction of a percentage point over Ashley Thrasher for Okanogan County Commissioner Position 2. Hover has 7,549 votes (52.41%) and Thrasher has 6,824 (47.38%) a difference of 725 votes.

Thrasher already voiced her loss in a letter to the editor in the Gazette-Tribune on Nov. 10. In it she thanked those “who assisted, supported, volunteered, donated and voted for her” in the primary and general elections.

“The amount of support I received is truly humbling. I also want to thank Andy Hover for running; I am pleased that we both ran clean, civil campaigns, sticking to the facts and avoiding mudslinging,” she said, adding that the number of candidates that ran “clearly demonstrates that democracy works; there was some disagreement about how matters were being handled at the county level, and voters voted to change the leadership.

Regardless of how the final vote turns out, I am proud of my campaign team and honored to have received so much support.”

Jerry Asmussen & Aaron Kester

Jerry Asmussen & Aaron Kester

Asmussen’s ballot count was at 7,181 votes (57.66%) to Kester’s 5,216 (41.89%). That means Asmussen’s overall lead increased by less than a percentage point for Okanogan County Public Utility District Commissioner in Position 3. With a difference of 1,965, it appears the rancher and auctioneer is a statistical certainty for winning the office.

Election officials with the county auditor’s office estimate there are 2,200 ballots left to count for the election. The next ballot count is scheduled for Monday, Nov. 21. The election will be certified on Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2016.

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.