SPOKANE, Wash. - In a primary that was marked with low turnout there were still a handful of surprises Tuesday night.
In Spokane County approximately 80,000 votes were cast among the 281,000 registered voters for the primary which saw several incumbents handily advance to the general election and a few realize the run-up to the general election are make or break to remain in office.
The highest profile race of the evening was arguably the least shocking, with Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers commanding 49-percent of the vote in Spokane County to continue representing the 5th Congressional District. Facing a field of three challengers in the primary she will now face Democrat Joe Pakootas, who handily pulled away from the rest of the pack to gather 30-percent of the vote, in the general election.
Several incumbents maintained solid leads over challengers Tuesday evening, including State Rep. Matt Shea, who had a 10-percent lead over Josh Arritola in the 4th Legislative District Pos. 1 race; Michael Baumgartner commanded 57-percent of the vote over Democrat Rich Cowan for 6th Legislative District State Senator; and State Representative Kevin Parker had a 62-percent lead over challenger Donald Dover in the 6th Legislative District Pos. 1 race.
State Representative Leonard Christian may have been one of the first casualties of the night. The representative from the 4th Legislative District was trailing in third place to challengers Bob McCaslin – whose father served in the State Senate for 30 years – and Diana Wilhite. McCaslin is leading with 43-percent of the vote, Wilhite trailing with 30-percent and Christian at 24-percent.
In the race for Spokane County Treasurer, Rob Chase has a fight on his hands to remain in office as he is leading challenger Amy Biviano by just 210 votes. Chase leads with 30,238 votes at 39.61-percent to Biviano's 30,028 votes at 39.34-percent. Mary Kuney trailed far behind with only 20-percent of the votes.
County Commissioner Al French came out of Tuesday night trailing challenger Mary Lou Johnson by a slim 62 vote margin and the two will face each other in the general election.
With Steve Tucker departing office, the race for Spokane County Prosecuting Attorney will be between Breean Beggs and Larry Haskell in November, though if Tuesday night's returns are any indication of the future, Beggs has some work to do to catch up to Haskell, who gained 57-percent of the vote to Beggs with 42-percent.
The margin is much wider in the race for Spokane County Sheriff, where incumbent Ozzie Knezovich received a commanding 72-percent of votes cast to challenger Doug Orr.
The Spokane County Elections Office counted 80,226 ballots Tuesday, with another count scheduled for Wednesday. The results will not be official until they are certified on August 15.
To see all Spokane County primary results click here.
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