The Richland City Council will have two new members in January if preliminary election results Tuesday hold as remaining ballots are counted.
Challenger Brad Anderson, vice chairman of the city's Parks & Recreation Commission, was leading incumbent Mayor Pro Tem Ed Revell with 4,401 votes, or 56 percent, to Revell's 3,461 votes, or 44 percent.
"I'm excited," Anderson said. "It was a lot of hard work. I was hopeful, but I was going up against an incumbent who doesn't have a bad name in the city, and I knew it was going to be a challenge. I stayed positive, and it looks like it paid off."
Other Richland incumbents fared well in preliminary results Tuesday that predicted two sitting council members should keep their seats for another term, but it was a toss-up whether incumbent Councilwoman Sandra Kent would return for two or four years, or whether Anderson might pull in more votes in late counts and get the four-year term.
Kent led challenger Kent Madsen, chairman of the Richland Planning Commission, with 4,402 votes, or 56 percent, to Madsen's 3,425, or 44 percent.
Council terms typically are four years, but the winner of whichever race is closest in the general election will get a two-year term. That's how Richland's charter ensures a majority of the council is up for election every two years.
Incumbent Councilman Phillip Lemley appeared to have easily defeated challenger Phillip Joyce with 5,475 votes, or 72 percent, to Joyce's 2,139 votes, or 28 percent, to earn a four-year term on the council. Lemley first was elected in 2009, when he defeated incumbent Councilwoman Rita Mazur.
In the council's one open race for the seat being vacated by Sheila Sullivan, Terry Christensen, chairman of the city's Parks & Recreation Commission, also appeared to be defeating Patrick McBurney, chairman of the Benton County GOP, by a significant margin that should guarantee Christensen a four-year term.
"Isn't that sweet?" Christensen said, surrounded by family at the Benton County Annex in Kennewick on Tuesday moments after seeing the results.
"I'm very, very pleased with the outcome," he said. "It really showed a lot of support from the town."
Christensen had 5,408 votes, or 69 percent, in preliminary counts Tuesday. McBurney had 2,464 votes, or 31 percent.
Anderson said he thinks the results of his and Christensen's races show that Richland residents care deeply about the parks system they see as an important part of their quality of life. He noted Lemley and current Mayor John Fox also were one-time members of the Parks & Recreation Commission.
"I think the parks are very dear to the people," Anderson said. "People watch the parks commission. They are aware of it and what's going on."
The council's diversity also was an issue in many of the campaigns, with Anderson and Joyce each running on the idea that the council needs a fresh perspective. In the case of Anderson, 37, and Joyce, 28, they pointed to the majority of council members being over 50, and their belief that someone on the council should speak for the city's growing number of young families.
Anderson additionally emphasized his private business experience working for Total Energy Management, and said the council could use another member not connected to Hanford.
Like Anderson, Madsen, 64, campaigned on his business experience as a sales executive for major corporations and his desire to improve code enforcement in the city, as well as a vision for a medical district in central Richland.
Benton County reported 90,642 ballots sent and 30,731 counted, for a 34 percent return, as of 8 p.m. Tuesday.
An estimated 13,000 remaining ballots will be counted over the next two days.
Ballots will continue to be counted today and Thursday, with updated results released at the end of each day. The election will be certified Nov. 29.
The council position pays $1,038 a month.
-- Michelle Dupler: 582-1543; firstname.lastname@example.org