A challenger campaigning on a need for change on the Kennewick Public Hospital District board had a handy lead Tuesday in the primary race.
Don Campbell had 3,079 votes, or about 43 percent, after the first round of election results.
Incumbent Victor V. Johnson was next in line with 2,388 votes, or about 33 percent.
The third candidate, Rick L. Fehr, had 1,719 votes, or about 24 percent.
The top two vote-getters will advance to the November general election.
The primary results won’t be official until the election is certified on Aug. 18.
About 3,000 ballots countywide are left to be counted, the Benton County Auditor’s Office reported Tuesday.
The next ballot update is expected Wednesday.
Johnson, 81, has a long history on the hospital district board, serving since 1998.
Reached Tuesday night, he said the seven-member board of commissioners works diligently for the district.
“We’ve got work to do, a mission to accomplish and we’re working to get that done,” he said.
Campbell, 64, said he’s pleased with Tuesday’s election results.
“We’ve still got three months and a lot of hard work” before the general election, he said. “The main goal is to make a change in this hospital board and to try to move forward and save the hospital.”
The board oversees the Trios Health system, which includes two hospitals and a network of care centers.
The district has seen accomplishments in recent years, including the opening of the new Trios Southridge Hospital and the Trios Care Center at Southridge.
It’s also experienced challenges, including a cash crunch that prompted layoffs earlier this year.
Both Fehr and Campbell campaigned on a call for new leadership on the board.
Johnson has touted his experience and knowledge of the health care world.
The board term is six years. Commissioners are paid $114 per day spent at meetings.