The race for second place in the Benton County commissioner District 2 primary widened Thursday as more ballots were counted.
Timothy Dalton of Kennewick has an 81-vote lead over Brad Taylor of Prosser to advance with front-runner Shon Small to the November general election. Dalton and Taylor were separated by 49 votes on election night, and Dalton’s lead dropped to 23 votes after the last update Wednesday.
The margin no longer is in the range where a recount would be required, according to the Benton County Auditor’s Office.
Small, of Prosser, who currently holds the District 2 seat, is leading the primary field with 5,127 votes, or about 50 percent.
Dalton has 2,644 votes, or about 26 percent, and Taylor has 2,563 votes, or 25 percent, according to the auditor’s Thursday figures.
Election night trends in some other county races still were holding Thursday, including for the 0.3 percent public safety sales tax, which is passing with about 53 percent approval.
At this point, most ballots have been counted. The auditor’s office has about 280 challenged ballots, with problems such as missing signatures or signatures that don’t match, and they can be counted once the issues are resolved, the auditor’s office said.
The election results won’t be official until they’re certified Aug. 19.