With an estimated 5,700 ballots left to count in Pierce and Kitsap counties, the race for the state Senate seat formerly occupied by Rep. Derek Kilmer remains too close to call.
Thirty-two-year old Democrat Emily Randall is battling Republican Marty McClendon to represent Washington’s 26th legislative district. As of Wednesday morning, just 74 votes separated the candidates with 67,996 votes counted.
Ballot counting will resume through the week, with vote certification due on November 27.
The race appears headed for a recount, a Pierce County election official said. According to Washington law, a machine recount would be automatically triggered if the candidates remain separated by less than one-half of one-percent of total votes. A “manual recount” would be required if the difference is less than 150 votes.
“Right now it does appear in recount range,” elections manager Mike Rooney said.
The Senate seat in the 26th Legislative District, which stretches across southern Kitsap and northwestern Pierce counties, was vacated in 2013 after Rep. Kilmer won election to the U.S. Congress. It has since been occupied by Republican Jan Angel, who is retiring.
Randall is a native of Port Orchard running for elected office for the first time. She’s run on a progressive platform, supporting increased funding for education, health care and infrastructure. McClendon, 51, is a former anesthesia technician and current real estate developer who has emphasized controlling government spending and reducing traffic congestion. A conservative, McClendon hosts an AM talk-radio show called “Eyes on Washington” that offers news and analysis “from a fresh, Christian perspective,” according to the show’s website.
District 26 State Representatives
Republican Jesse Young holds a 2,752-vote lead over Democrat Connie FitzPatrick for state representative in the district. Republican Michelle Caldier holds a safe lead over Democrat Joy Stanford of 7,150 votes for the second House seat.
Incumbent Sherry Appleton leads Poulsbo Mayor Becky Erickson by more than 10,000 votes to represent northern Kitsap County in the state house. Democrat Drew Hansen ran unopposed for the second seat.
State Sen. Christine Rolfes is not up for reelection until 2020.
Incumbent Tim Sheldon leads Irene Bowling by 2,530 votes for the state senate seat representing Mason, Thurston and parts of Kitsap counties. Both are Democrats.
Republican Drew MacEwen leads Democratic challenger David Daggett by 1,677 votes for one House seat. Republican Dan Griffey holds a commanding lead of close to 10,000 votes over progressive challenger James Thomas for the second seat.