PORT ORCHARD — Democrat Emily Randall’s lead over Republican Marty McClendon inched upward Thursday in the race for the 26th Legislative District state senate seat as mail-in ballots continue to be counted.
Ballots from Kitsap and Pierce counties counted on Wednesday, Nov. 14 thrust Randall into a 12-vote lead, overcoming a lead built by McClendon in the days after Election Night votes were tallied. But an additional passel of votes in both counties tallied on Thursday increased Randall’s lead to 88 votes as her margin over McClendon in Kitsap County offset his lead in Pierce County.
Combined county totals announced by the Secretary of State’s office show that Randall has a total of 34,606 votes, or 50.06 percent, to McClendon’s 34,518 votes, or 49.94 percent — a half-point increase in the Democrat’s overall margin.
Randall widened her lead in Kitsap County with a 51.13 percent to 48.87 percent margin, or a 747-vote lead, over her Republican opponent. The county’s Election Division said it has 500 votes left to count.
In Pierce County, McClendon leads by a 50.92 percent to 49.08 percent margin, or 659 votes. Vote totals in the county are 18,310 for the Republican and 17, 651 for the Democrat. There are about 1,300 ballots left to be tallied in the county, but just a portion of those are from voters in the 26th Legislative District.
Randall captured a modest lead on Election Night, but subsequent updates from both counties put the Gig Harbor radio-show host and real estate agent in front, albeit by a small margin.
In total, about 1,800 ballots remain to be counted in the 26th Legislative District, as of Thursday, Nov. 15.