Connell mayoral race up in the air

Loretto J. Hulse, Tri-City HeraldNovember 13, 2013 

The Connell mayor's race is still up in the air, with 14 votes separating the two candidates.

Franklin County last tallied votes Nov. 8 and won't be doing a recount until Nov. 25, said Diana Garza Killian, election administrator for Franklin County.

Political newcomer Bruce "Blacky" Blackwell received 51.7 percent, or 212 votes, while incumbent Gary Walton, collected 48 percent, or 198 votes.

"Ballots are still trickling in. We have about 100 that haven't been counted yet. But those 100 or so ballots are from all over the county. At best guess there would only be a handful from Connell," Garza Killian said.

A few include ballots people neglected to sign, but Killian said letters have been sent asking them to come by and do it.

"If so, we'll include them in the count," she said.

In Benton County, Election Supervisor Stuart Holmes said he has about 75 ballots that were received after the last tally Nov. 8.

"There's also a couple hundred that are challenged, a signature is missing or doesn't match the one in the voter registration," Holmes said. His office also is contacting those voters.

Holmes is planning to do another count Friday and again Nov. 22, and will be updating the auditor's website.

At the last count, Brent Gerry, who's running for West Richland mayor, was leading with 171 more votes than his opponent, Merle N. Johnson.

Gerry has received 1,967 votes, or 52 percent, while Johnson received 1,796 votes, or 47.7 percent.

In other West Richland City Council races, Jay Bowman is leading for Position 1 with 51 percent, or 1,408.

Bowman withdrew from the race but too late for his name to be removed from the ballot. His opponent, Johan M. Curtiss, has received 48.8 percent, or 1,343 votes.

Elections in Benton and Franklin counties will be certified Nov. 26.

-- Loretto J. Hulse: 582-1513; lhulse@tricityherald.com

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