OKANOGAN – Lloyd Caton Jr. and Jon Neal were the top vote getters for Okanogan County Commissioner Position 3 in the first count of primary ballots on election day, Tuesday, Aug. 2. Results are unofficial at this point with about 1000 votes left to count, according to election officials at the county auditor’s office.
Four candidates are competing for the county commissioner seat and Caton led the pack with 871 (36.02%) votes counted on election day. Neal was close behind with 857 (35.44%) of the ballots cast in his favor. Both said they preferred the Republican party. The other two candidates, who prefer Independent, were Aaron Kester, who earned 422 (17.45%) votes and Kari Alexander, who earned 268 votes (11.08%).
At this point, it looks as if Neal and Caton have a lock on meeting up for the general election this November. The next ballot count is scheduled for Friday, Aug. 5.
The other Okanogan County race with more than two candidates where the primary decides who will continue on to the general election is for Okanogan County Sheriff. The frontrunner in the first ballot count is incumbent Anthony “Tony” Hawley with 2,705 (42.29 percent) of votes. He is seeking to return for another four-year term. Paul D. Budrow was next with 2,371 (37.07%), followed by Kevin D. Newport with 1,320 (20.64%). All three candidates registered as preferring the Republican Party.
It’s unclear at this point whether Dave Rodriquez’s last minute write-in campaign for a return for a third term as county coroner has succeeded. In the unofficial count he fell short of the approximately 250 write-in votes needed to proceed to the general election. He had 180 (4.06%) write-in votes. Rodriguez needs to pick up about 70 votes in the later ballot counts. If he doesn’t get the required amount for a write-in candidate, Rojean “Jeannie” Hughes, the only name that appeared on the ballot for the position, will be the next county coroner. Hughes had 4,249 (95.94%) votes cast in her favor.
The majority of candidates running for Okanogan County offices ran unopposed – all for four-year terms – these include Larry D. Gilman, county assessor; Cari Hall, county auditor; Susan Speiker, county clerk; Albert H. Lin, prosecuting attorney (four-year short and full term) and Pam Johnson, county treasurer.
In the state’s Seventh District, incumbent state Representative Jacquelin Maycumber is far out ahead among Okanogan County voters for Position 1. The Republican had 4,199 (77.57%) votes cast in her favor. Her challenger, Lonny Ray Williams, who also prefers the Republican Party, received 1,214 (22.43%) in the first count. Maycumber leads by a margin of over two-to-one throughout the state’s Seventh District. The two will meet in the November general election.
The Position 2 Representative for the Seventh District, Republican Joel Kretz, ran unopposed this go around.
In the national races, a Democrat is leading the Okanogan County vote count for U.S. Representative for the Fourth District of Washington. Doug White received 2,243 (28.83) votes, while Republican Loren Culp, who unsuccessfully ran for state governor in 2020, had the second most votes. The former Republic police chief received 2,022 (28.83%). Not making the unofficial cut, at least in Okanogan County, was incumbent Dan Newhouse, a Republican. He received 1,629 (23.22%).
Newhouse, however, got the most votes in the Fourth District, followed by White, then Culp, in the unofficial first count. Newhouse, who is seeking a third term, was one of 10 Republicans from the U.S. House that voted to impeach former president Donald Trump.
Okanogan County cast the most ballots for Tiffany Smiley, who chose Republican as her party preference for U.S. Senator, 3,116 (44.44%). The second most votes were for Incumbent Patty Murray, 2,675 (38.15%).
Statewide, the same two candidates got the highest number of votes, however, Murray, who prefers Democrat and was first elected to office in 1992, received over 300,000 more votes than Smiley in the first statewide ballot count. Murray led in all counties west of the Cascades with the exception of Lewis, Wahkiakum and Cowlitz. Smiley led in all Eastern Washington counties with the exception of Spokane County.
Both candidates received tens of thousands of votes more than the other candidates in the field of 18.
The election is not official until it has been certified.