Matt Beaton will become Franklin County's first new auditor in more than two decades.
Tuesday's final results left Beaton, a Republican, 173 votes ahead of 21-year Democrat incumbent Zona Lenhart as counties across the state certified the Nov. 2 general election results.
In Franklin County, Republicans took over, while in Benton County, most incumbents held onto their seats. However, Republican Shon Small will replace GOP incumbent Max Benitz Jr. as a Benton County commissioner after defeating him by 9,194 votes.
Statewide, more than 71 percent of voters participated in the general election, the best turnout for a mid-term election seen since 1970.
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Benton County's vote set a record for an off-year election with 72 percent, or 64,030 voters, returning their ballots, and Franklin County had 17,557 voters participate, a 69 percent turnout.
Beaton, a real estate appraiser, already has started preparing to be auditor.
"I'm humbled by the trust that Franklin County voters have placed in me," he said.
Beaton received 8,533 votes, or almost 51 percent, in the final results. Lenhart received 8,360 votes, or a little more than 49 percent.
Beaton said he intends to work with Lenhart to make the transition smooth and looks forward to working with the auditor's office staff and other county officials.
He already has taken classes for public officials from Washington Counties Training Institute to prepare. He said he also will attend the conference for newly-elected officials hosted by the Washington State Association of Counties and the Washington Association of County Officials in December.
Lenhart was unavailable for comment Tuesday night.
Meanwhile, in Benton County, the District Court judge race will be decided by a hand recount.
Dan Kathren was nine votes ahead of Alex Ekstrom after the count.
The auditor's office will begin the recount on Monday at 8 a.m.
The measure to move the county seat from Prosser to Kennewick failed to reach the 60 percent super-majority. The measure drew the support of almost 56 percent of voters.
John Hansens will become the next Benton County coroner, defeating fellow Republican Alberta "Bert" Redwing by 1,268 votes.
The state will certify results Dec. 2.
-- Kristi Pihl: 582-1512; email@example.com