Byron Martin, John Smart, Scott Whalen and Neomi Garza have sizable leads for West Richland council seats after a majority of the ballots were counted Tuesday night.
There are still an estimated 3,000 ballots left to be counted. A total of 12,639 were counted Tuesday.
Martin and Smart lead the race for Position 1. Martin, the incumbent, had 43 percent, and Smart picked up 36 percent.
Fred Brink, who worked for the FBI for more than 20 years, received 21 percent and is behind Smart by nearly 200 votes.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to the Tri-City Herald
Martin leads Smart, who works at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, by about 100 votes.
“I’m absolutely ecstatic about it,” Martin said. “I’m glad to see the initial results. I would hope that it stays that way through tomorrow. It shows when someone is doing a good job that you will get the support of the the people behind you.”
Whalen had a commanding lead in the race for Position 6, with 54 percent of the vote. The senior researcher at Battelle has a more than 300-vote lead over Garza, who got 31 percent of the vote.
Whalen and Garza will likely battle it out during the November election to fill the seat left open by Ron Hayden, who decided not to seek reelection.
Braden Sloughter, who is running for a council seat for a second time, was lagging hundreds of votes behind at 14 percent.
Whalen is ahead of Garza by more than 300 votes.
“I look forward to doing some more work in the fall to meet people around town and see if we can bump that number up even further,” Whalen said.
The next round of ballots will be counted Wednesday. Results are expected to be released at 4:30 p.m. The voter turnout was 13.77 percent.