Politics & Government

Four local races still undecided; County Council race could go to hand recount

Three local races for the state House were still undecided Friday, while a Pierce County Council race was so close it might require a hand recount.

In Pierce County’s 28th Legislative District, Democrat Christine Kilduff of University Place led Republican Paul Wagemann by less than 1 percentage point, or 286 votes cast out of more than 36,000.

Wagemann said his odds didn’t look good as of Friday, but his camp was still holding out hope.

“I think to prevail, it’s going to take a miracle with the few votes that are left out there,” Wagemann said Friday. “It’d be stunning — but we’ll wait and see. We’re not mathematically eliminated at this point, but we’re darn close.”

Meanwhile in the 26th Legislative District, Republican Michelle Caldier of Port Orchard was edging incumbent Democratic Rep. Larry Seaquist by a margin of 327 votes out of more than 45,000 cast.

Another state House member, Democratic Rep. Kathy Haigh of Shelton, was also trailing a Republican challenger on Friday evening: Allyn Republican Dan Griffey led Haigh by 285 votes out of more than 45,000 ballots counted so far.

But the tightest race was a local contest for a seat on the Pierce County Council. Democrat Derek Young led incumbent Republican Stan Flemming by 67 votes Friday, a difference of less than two-tenths of a percentage point.

“If the race remains this close at certification it would trigger a manual recount,” wrote Mike Rooney, Pierce County elections manager, in an email Friday.

The Pierce County Auditor’s Office reported Friday that it still had 9,000 ballots left to count, and that more ballots postmarked on or before Election Day were still arriving. The county also expects to receive more ballots from military and overseas voters in the coming days, Rooney said.

Tuesday’s election won’t be certified by county officials until Nov. 25. At that point, state law requires that a machine recount take place if the difference between the candidates is less than half a percentage point, and also fewer than 2,000 votes.

A manual recount is triggered if the difference between the candidates is less than one-quarter of a percentage point and less than 150 votes.

Candidates whose vote totals aren’t close enough to trigger a mandatory recount can still request one if they’re willing to pay for it themselves.