Hand recount in Tacoma City Council primary sets stage for November election

A hand recount has upheld the two winners of a Tacoma City Council primary race.

The final tally, certified Wednesday, maintained incumbent Conor McCarthy and Courtney Love as the two candidates moving on to the general election in November.

“I’m thrilled I made it to the primary and on to the general,” Love told The News Tribune on Wednesday.

A recount was triggered after Love and Brett Johnson were separated by 12 votes, with Love in the lead.

“I started the campaign feeling confident, and it did get a little nerve wracking there at the end,” said Love, a metal smith assistant and activist.

The recount extended Love’s lead by one vote, to 13.

Johnson, an Air Force veteran and founding partner of Wane + Flitch LLC, was disappointed by the results of the recount but said he was proud of the number of votes he gathered as a first-time candidate.

Johnson added that he was given a list of contested ballots with no or missing signatures and would have chased them down if he had more time.

He said Tacoma voters can expect to see him on future ballots.

“Time was my biggest challenge, and I’ll be using the time between now and 2021 to prepare for another run where I won’t be the rookie that woke up and decided to run,” Johnson said on Wednesday.

Love will face McCarthy in the November election. McCarthy received 53 percent of the primary vote.

Love said she’s staying positive.

“I think my campaign is looking stronger than it ever has,” she said. “My whole tactic is about door knocking and getting my name and message out.”

Recounts are a common occurrence, Pierce County Auditor Julie Anderson said. The most recent one was in November 2018.

A manual hand recount is triggered in an election when the difference is less than one-quarter of 1 percent.

Costs of the recount are being determined. The recount was mostly conducted on Monday, with 26,915 ballots counted by a team of 35 election workers.