The machine recount in the Grays Harbor County Commissioner, District 3 race was conducted Friday morning and Republican Keith Olson still holds a 10-vote lead over Democrat Al Smith in the contest to advance to the November general election, county Election Supervisor Katy Moore announced Friday.
No challenge of the recount result has been filed so far, but there are three days to do so, according to Moore. Any challenge would result in a hand recount, with the challenging party responsible for the cost at 25 cents per ballot.
Minus any challenge, Olson will face Cosmopolis Mayor Vickie Raines, who is running with no party preference, in the general election. Olson has led Smith since the first updated count of the primary votes. But the lead was so slim, a machine recount was mandated by law. According to County Auditor Vern Spatz, had the lead narrowed to eight votes, state law would have then required Friday’s recount to have been done by hand, a much more arduous process.
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, trailed Olson 1,464 to 1,454 for second place.
“Who’d have ever thought,” joked Olson after the recount results were announced at 10 a.m. Friday morning. Olson and several of his supporters were on hand for Friday’s recount. The other two District 3 candidates were not.
He looks forward to a couple of more months of campaigning, the Republican candidate said.
“So far, it has been fun,” he said of campaigning. “It’s been trying, but it’s been a lot of fun. I’ve met a lot of cool people.”
The race will pit Olson, who is from Quinault in the rural and northernmost area of the District 3 against Raines, the longtime mayor of Cosmopolis. The district also contains the urban areas of Hoquiam and Ocean Shores. It runs from Central Park west along the north end of the Harbor to North Beach and north up to the border with Jefferson County.
The defeat of Smith is a loss for Democrats. Fellow Democrat, Commission President Frank Gordon, championed Smith’s candidacy and actively opposed Raines in the race.
The Daily World contributed to this report.