Kennewick City Council: Loren Nichols takes second

A political newcomer who campaigned on making illegal immigration a capital crime and having Kennewick declared an English language-only community will advance to the general election.

Loren Nichols will face Mayor Steve Young on Nov. 8 in the race for a seat on the Kennewick City Council based on unofficial results in Tuesday's primary.

All three incumbents on the Kennewick council received the most votes in their bids for re-election to new four-year terms.

Young, the Ward 3 incumbent, received 840 votes, or 62 percent, while Nichols earned 27 percent with 365 votes. The third candidate, William Miller, received just 12 percent, or 158 votes.

In the Ward 2 race, incumbent Paul Parish's 1,124 votes, or 57 percent, led first-time candidate Diane Crawford with 519 votes, or 27 percent.

Joe Kadinger, former chairman of the city's disbanded Board of Adjustment, finished out of the running with 315 votes, or 16 percent.

And the Ward 1 race had incumbent R. E. "Bob" Olson, with 1,018 votes, or 46 percent, solidly ahead of second-place finisher Gloria Tyler Baker's 793 votes, or 32 percent, leaving Betty Klundt eliminated with 668 votes, or 27 percent.

Young, who serves as mayor, was pleased with his strong finish.

"I'm happy with those results. I have a lot of confidence with the citizens of Kennewick and appreciate their votes and will work diligently to work for this community," he said.

Nichols could not be reached Tuesday night. He told the Herald earlier on Tuesday he did not want to be interviewed.

Nichols' statements to media last week about shooting illegal immigrants, who he characterized as "raping our country" by crossing U.S. borders, ignited a firestorm of reaction in the Tri-Cities and beyond. The Herald received almost 500 online comments on stories about Nichols.

Nichols is making his first attempt at being elected to public office. He applied for appointment to a vacancy on the council in 2008, but Young was selected.

Olson said he was looking forward to the runoff and wasn't surprised to see that Tyler Baker will be his opponent.

"I am pretty darn excited," said Tyler Baker, minutes after checking the results on her cell phone.

Tyler Baker said now that she has shown her political potential, she is gearing up for the runoff.

"I've had people calling me. This is exciting. I have to order some more signs," she said.

Parish, who collected the most votes among the Kennewick candidates, said he wasn't taking anything for certain, mainly because of the recession.

"You never know about these things. The turnout was rotten, but the results were great," Parish said.

Crawford said she was nervous as the hour approached for counting ballots, but when the results came in, she was surprised.

"I know a lot of people in this town, so maybe that will help get me elected," Crawford said, who noted that her 20 years in the community will be an advantage.

The county elections department reported that 33,687 ballots were issued in Kennewick, with 6,161 returned, or 18 percent.

Stuart Holmes, elections supervisor, said there are about 2,300 ballots estimated to be coming in to be counted. More ballots will be counted today and Thursday and then Monday and Friday of next week.

The election results are scheduled to be certified Aug. 31.