Election certified: Commissioner race to get recount Friday

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The final results of the August primary election are in, and with just 10 votes separating them, Keith Olson and Al Smith are headed to a machine recount to decide which of them will face Vickie Raines for the County Commission District 3 seat in November.

Cosmopolis Mayor Raines officially won the three-way primary with 1,857 votes (33.1 percent) after final results were certified on Tuesday. Democrat Smith, from the Wishkah Valley, trails Olson, a Quinault Republican, by 10 votes, 1,464 to 1,454 for second place. Smith led Olson in the initial tally on election night, but has trailed him by a small margin in every updated count since.

The Election Canvassing Board “approved a machine recount, which is mandatory when the results are within this range,” Election Supervisor Katy Moore said Tuesday. “We will start rescanning the ballots at 9 a.m. Friday.”

After the recount is complete, the top two vote-getters will proceed to the general election.

“With regards to who my opponent may be: ‘I have no preference,’” Raines said after the results were certified, making a play on her “no party preference” declaration for the ballot.

Ballots to be rescanned are those from District 3, the commission’s westernmost district. The entire county will vote in the race in November.


Grays Harbor County Public Hospital District 2 officially exists as of Tuesday’s election certification. Voters approved the district’s creation with 61.4 percent of the vote.

The seven commissioners for the new district — Maryann Welch, Armando Juarez Jr., Miles Longenbaugh, Andy Bickar, Pete Scroggs, Bob Torgerson and Dr. Ryan Farrer — were sworn in at a ceremony at the county offices on Tuesday afternoon. The new board will next work to develop a plan to transfer the assets of the non-profit Grays Harbor Community Hospital to the newly-formed public district in the coming months.

Other Issues

In McCleary, voters turned away two measures that would help fund the city’s police department, throwing the department’s future, at least in its current form, into question. Both measures failed by more than 70 percent margins.

The city has explored contracting with the Grays Harbor County Sheriff’s Office for police coverage in lieu of having its own department, though no decision has been made.


The primary ballot decided several races for the November general election, narrowing fields to two canditates. Here’s a list of the races that were narrowed down:

6th Congressional District: Congressman Derek Kilmer, D-Wash., will face Republican Marty McClendon

Assessor: Grays Harbor County Assessor Rick Hole will face Democrat Dan Lindgren

Grays Harbor Prosecutor: Katie Svoboda will face Mike Spencer, both are Democrats.

All other incumbents for county offices are running unopposed, as is Rep. Kevin Van De Wege, D-Sequim, in the 24th Legislative District.