Franklin County’s elected auditor, Matt Beaton, brought passion to his efforts to unseat a sitting county commissioner, Brad Peck, railing about his leadership style and relations with the county’s nearly 300 employees.
Beaton called Peck’s commanding leadership style alienating and cited it as a reason for frosty relations between Franklin County and its larger, better-funded neighbor, Benton County.
Tuesday, voters apparently disagreed.
With 10,000 ballots out of an estimated 24,000 cast, Peck held a commanding lead over Beaton with 4,779 votes to 3,546, or 57 percent to 43 percent.
Peck expressed appreciation for his supporters and pledged to continue to work for all residents and earn the support of those who did not vote for him.
In a nod to complaints about the frosty bicounty relationship, he committed to working “professionally and respectfully” with his counterparts across the river in Benton County.
He also pledged better communications with the county’s employees.
“I think it’s time that Franklin County adopt a more formal process for ensuring frequent and regular communication with all of our employees to keep them better informed of the activities of all the elected officials,” he said Tuesday night.
He also highlighted the need to find effective and affordable options for treating people experiencing mental health crises rather than incarcerating them and pursuing consolidation of emergency 911 dispatch operations with Benton County.
Peck is a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel who later worked as an executive for Energy Northwest. He and his wife bought the fire damaged Moore Mansion and have restored it as an event center and private residence.
Beaton, working late as the county’s elections officer, said there are still many ballots to count and he wasn’t ready to concede.
“I would rather be ahead than behind. But it’s not over until it’s over,” he said.