Bill Bryant, the Republican candidate for governor of Washington, launched his final get-out-the-vote push with a series of Tri-City appearances Friday.
Bryant insisted that a strong turnout in rural areas will make the difference when the results of the Nov. 8 election are tallied. He cited a new poll by the University of Washington and KCTS9 showing him trailing Gov. Jay Inslee by a narrow margin.
The Washington Poll showed Inslee, a Democrat, leading with 46 percent to Bryant’s 42 percent. Another 3 percent were leaning toward Bryant and 5 percent to Inslee. And 3-4 percent were unsure.
“That’s a horse race,” he said during a small gathering with employees at Kennewick’s Lampson International.
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After a stop in Richland, former Seattle Port commissioner and his blue campaign bus were headed to Spokane and then the Puget Sound area to rally voters to send in their ballots.
Ballots in Washington were mailed last week. So far, the rate of return is behind that of previous elections, possibly an indicator that voters are taking their time to scrutinize the three dozen or so races and initiatives this year and also that they may be waiting to see what new developments emerge in the presidential race.
Bryant encouraged voters to return their ballots in time to be counted. Washington is a vote-by-mail state and all ballots must be returned by Nov. 8 or postmarked by that date. Go to myvote.wa.gov to find the nearest drop box.
With Election Day less than two weeks away, Bryant focused on the central elements of his campaign:
Building an educational system that works for all communities, addressing homelessness, strengthening a mental health system that often results in incarceration rather than treatment and focusing on the state’s Department of Social and Human Services.
Bryant said he would make reforming the foster care system and homelessness two of his top priorities.
Bryant has said he will not vote for either Republican Donald Trump or Democrat Hillary Clinton for president.