Friday, September 22, 2006
Momentum may be building towards a clear-cut winner in the County Commissioner, District 3, Republican primary contest.
In the latest ballot count Moxee businessman Rand Elliott expanded his lead by nearly 100 votes over Mike Wallace.
Elliott led by 23 votes before additional ballots counted last night pushed the margin to 118 votes.
Even with the widened lead, the numbers-1,411 (41.8 percent) for Elliott and 1,293 (38.37) for Wallace-show the race is still too close to call.
With about 2,500 votes in district three still to count, Elliott isn't ready to claim victory and Wallace is nowhere near conceding.
"I'm pleased my lead has grown, but there are still a sizable number of ballots to count," Elliott said. "I'm hopeful, I'm cautiously optimistic."
Noting there are about 2,500 ballots still to count from within the third district, Wallace, a Grandview resident, said it will come down to "whether people in the Lower Valley voted for someone in the Upper Valley or in the Lower Valley".
Wallace added, "I'm not conceding. It's still certainly possible to win. Is it probable? I don't know. But it is statistically possible." The Hinzerling Winery owner and manager said he estimates he will need between 53 and 54 percent of the remaining ballots in order to pull out a close win.
The Yakima County Auditor's office will conduct another ballot count today and may also work tomorrow (Saturday) on the tabulation.
The primary outcome will be certified Sept. 29 and in November the Republican winner will face Democratic primary winner Earl Lee of Yakima