Asmussen, Branch and Hover hang on to their general election leads

YourVoteCountsSecond vote count shows small increase over opponents

Jerry-Asmussen-29OKANOGAN – Monday’s second count of the general election ballots showed little change in the outcome of the Nov. 8 general election for local candidates other than the narrowest of increases in the leads of the two top candidates for Okanogan County Commissioner positions – Andy Hover and Chris Branch. And, while still unofficial, it seems Jerry Asmessen will be the newest PUD Commissioner from the North County.

According to Monday’s second ballot count, Asmussen, had a 1,444 vote lead over Aaron Kester, in the race for Commissioner Position 3 on the Public Utilities District Board. The rancher and auctioneer, who also serves on the Tonasket School Board had 57.80 percent of the vote to Kester’s 41.70 percent. Kester, works at his family-run business, Lee Frank Mercantile, in Tonasket and is active in the local chamber of commerce.

Andy Hover
Andy Hover

Chris Branch, the Oroville’s Director of Community Development had grown his lead by less than one percent over the election night count. The second count, held at the Okanogan County Auditor’s Office on Monday at 5 p.m., had Branch with 5,575 votes (53.03%) and incumbent Sheilah Kennedy had 4,908 votes (46.69%).

Andy Hover, who manages North Valley Lumber in Twisp, received 5,554 votes (53.09%). Ashley Thrasher, a former Smoke Jumper and Hot Shot firefighter, received 4,879 votes (46.64%), according to Monday’s second count.

All the other candidates for local offices ran unopposed. Returning to the Superior Court Bench in Position 1 will be Henry “Hank” Rawson and in Position 2 will be Chris Culp. Robert W. Grimm will serve as District Court Judge for Position 1.

County voters preferred Joel Kretz three to one over his opponent, Mike Foster, for a return as Seventh District Representative in Position 2. The statewide results

Chris Branch
Chris Branch

for Wauconda rancher nearly mirrored those of Kretz’ home county where he lead with 77.71 percent of the vote over Foster who had 21.54 percent. Shelly Short, who ran unopposed for Rep. Position 1 will also return to represent the county and the Seventh District.

In the 12th District, which doesn’t include North County, Brad Hawkins appears to be leading Brewster’s Jon Wyss for the State Senate by a large margin. Cary Condotta and Mike Steele will look to be returning as Representatives to the 12th District in Positions 1 and 2, respectively.

County voters didn’t like Initiatives 1433, 1464, and 732. However, they voted for Initiatives 1491 and 1501 which concerned children, the elderly and vulnerable persons.

Voters in the county apparently like the Republican ticket of Donald Trump/Mike Pence over that of the Democratic ticket of Hilary Clinton/Tim Kane. They favored the electoral college victors two to one over the winner of the popular vote. Okanogan County voters also broke with their fellow state voters in favoring Republican Chris Vance for U.S. Senator over incumbent Democrat Patty Murray, who leads statewide by over 600,000 votes.

Republican Dan Newhouse is leading by wide margin in Okanogan County, as well as the whole U.S. Fourth District of Washington, over fellow Republican Clint Didier for the House of Representatives.

So far 11,289 ballots have been counted at the Okanogan County Auditor’s office and there are an estimated 6,500 ballots left to count, according to election officials. That estimate does not include ballots that may continue to be received in the mail with a postmark on or before Election Day or ballots with signature issues that must be corrected before they can be counted. The election results so far are unofficial until certified. The next ballot count is scheduled for today, Thursday, Nov. 17, at 5 p.m. The election will not be certified until Tuesday, Nov. 29.

Second vote count shows small increase over opponents