The three incumbents hoping to retain their seats on the Pasco City Council held solid leads in Tuesday night’s primary results.
Mayor Matt Watkins, Mayor Pro Tem Rebecca Francik and Councilman Al Yenney are seeking reelection to four-year terms.
If the numbers stay consistent in final ballot counts, it appears Bertha Aranda Glatt will challenge Watkins for the at-large Position 6, David Milne will go against Francik in District 5, and Bertha Alicia Coria will face off with Yenney in District 1.
Council races in the general election will be open to citywide voting.
After initial returns Tuesday night, Watkins received 2,008 votes, or 57 percent. Glatt, who works for St. Luke’s Center of Occupational Health and Education in Kennewick, got 760 votes, or 22 percent.
Robert Sandoval came in with 566 votes, or 16 percent, and Edison Valerio got 188 votes, or 5 percent.
This is the first time Watkins has had challengers in his reelection bid.
“I like to think I’m doing something right to have the majority of voters support me in the primary, but also know I have to keep doing the hard work,” said Watkins, who was pleased to see a total of 11 candidates running for three city positions. “To put your name out there and to be involved is a big step for community involvement.”
Glatt was proud of everybody who ran for an office and said it is a success in itself to have options for the voters.
About her apparent second-place finish, Glatt said, “It shows that I have a lot of work to do, but it’s just a great motivation.”
Francik, who has been a councilwoman for 19 years, received 811 votes, or 59 percent. Milne, the owner of of Milne Nail Power Tool & Repair, got 478 votes, or 35 percent. And R. Theron Cammer drew 79 votes, or 6 percent.
“I’m just grateful that the voters of Pasco are willing to give me four more years, or at least let me advance on to the general,” said Francik, “because I think we’ve got such good things happening in the city of Pasco and I’m hoping that I get to see them through to their conclusions.”
Milne said his focus over the next three months is to show Pasco residents that he really cares.
“I will work twice as hard to get my message across and, hopefully, know that I’m serious about this. If I could lead a store, I could also help lead a city.”
Yenney is seeking his third term. He said he would like to see more people vote, especially in his district, but he is pleased with the overall turnout.
“I’m pretty happy. I’ve worked hard for the citizens and residents of the city of Pasco … and it looks like they appreciate that,” he said.
Coria, a 2014 Pasco High School graduate, is a substitute paraeducator and a student at Charter College. She went down to the county’s election office Tuesday to turn in her ballot, then waited around for the results.
“I feel great,” Coria said, noting that Frankin County had a higher voter turnout than Benton County. “Just looking at that, it makes me realize people are actually starting to listen a little bit and realize that every vote matters.”
Tuesday’s results involved 4,884 ballots, with the auditor’s office estimating that 542 are left to be counted. The county has 30,384 registered voters, which means the voter turnout rate was 16.07 percent.
In addition to the three contested Pasco council races, Franklin County residents also had a state representative race on the ballot.
Voters did have until 8 p.m. on election day to place their ballots in a drop box. Some also may have been postmarked Tuesday and will be arriving at the auditor’s office in the mail in coming days.
The next ballot count is 5 p.m. Wednesday, with the results being certified Aug. 18.