The one-tenth of 1 percent sales tax increase to pay for a regional aquatics facility and water park in the Tri-Cities still is failing with about 55 percent against, according to the latest election returns. The measure was on Tuesday's ballot in Richland, Pasco and Kennewick, and needs approval from the majority of voters weighing in across the three cities for it to pass.
More votes are scheduled to be counted Monday. Certification is Aug. 20.
Like with the aquatics measure, trends in many other races also were holding steady, including the Benton Fire District 2's property tax levy. It's passing with about 68 percent, or 865 votes, in favor.
An estimated 590 ballots are left to be counted total in both counties.
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In the other races, only the top two vote-getters advance to face off in the general election Nov. 5.
Voter turnout in Benton County was near 33 percent and at 32 percent in Franklin County. Here's an update on other local races:
Senate seat, 8th Legislative District
Richland City Councilman Phillip Lemley maintained a 276-vote lead for second place in the state senate District 8 race. Incumbent Sen. Sharon Brown led with 13,168 votes, 59 percent; Lemley had 4,778 votes, or 21 percent; and Tony Benegas had 4,502 votes, or 20 percent.
Port of Kennewick
For Port of Kennewick commissioner District 1, it appears incumbent Don Barnes and John Givens, will advance to the general election. Barnes, who was appointed to the port commission about 14 months ago, had 2,732 voters or about 39 percent. Givens, the port's former executive director, had 1,877 voters, or about 27 percent.
Danette Layne received 22 percent of the votes, or 1,542. Barry Bush, a Benton PUD commissioner, trailed with 11 percent or 755 votes.
For Port of Kennewick commissioner District 2, former Benton County Commissioner Leo Bowman and former Kennewick City Councilman Tom Moak maintained their lead. Bowman had 2,223 votes or about 44 percent, while Moak had 1,729 votes, or 35 percent.
Incumbent Gene Wagner, who has served for 12 years as port commissioner, had 1,049 votes, or 21 percent, as of the latest tally.
West Richland mayor
For West Richland mayor, Merle Johnson and West Richland Councilman Brent Gerry kept the lead. Johnson, who served on the city council for six years, had 1,117 votes, or 45 percent, while Gerry had 722 votes, or 29 percent.
Nancy Aldrich, who served on the city council from 1994 to 2001 and again from 2004-07, had 632 votes, or about 26 percent.
Challenger Ivan Howard had the most votes in the Kiona-Benton City School Board primary with 542 votes or 42 percent. Challenger Daniel Johnson was in second with 509 votes or 39 percent. Incumbent Charles Gray was in third with 220 votes or 17 percent and will not continue to the general election.
Richland School Board Vice Chairwoman Heather Cleary had 5,820 votes or 54 percent in her primary race. Challenger Ron Higgins came in second with 3,844 votes or 35 percent. Challenger Jimmie D. Chastain II had 1,060 votes or 10 percent.
In the Pasco School Board race, incumbent Sherry Lancon, the board chairwoman, had 4,938 votes or 67 percent. Challenger Javier Ruiz was in second with 1,834 or 25 percent. Challenger Taylor Franklin Taranto had 588 votes or 8 percent and will not continue to the general election.
Melody Reed is leading with 3,441 votes, 41 percent, in the race for Richland City Council, Pos. 7. The Christ the King School vice principal is followed by Gregory L. Jones, nuclear safety division team lead for the Department of Energy's Richland Operations Office, who has 3,233 votes, or about 39 percent. Stan Bensussen, vice president and chief ethics officer for CH2M Hill Plateau Remediation Co., has 1,690 votes, or 20 percent.
Incumbent Kahlotus Councilwoman Sharee Beckner led with 35 votes, 69 percent; Marcia Robitaille had 15 votes, 29 percent; and Molly Robitaille had one vote, 2 percent.
For Prosser City Council, former Councilman Don Aubrey held about 66 percent, or 568 votes. Trevor Day, a production manager for Ste. Michelle Wine Estates in Paterson, received 207 votes, or 24 percent. Incumbent Ernie Troemel had 80 votes, or about 9 percent.