Benton pulls ahead of Probst in Senate race

Tanner concedes to Mielke in commissioner race

By Stephanie Rice, Columbian Vancouver city government reporter

Published:

Updated: November 8, 2012, 8:12 PM

 
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Update 3: Clark County Election Results

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State Sen. Don Benton, R-Vancouver, has pulled ahead in his tight race with Democrat Tim Probst, as updated results released Thursday showed Benton with a 62-vote lead.

On Election Day, Probst had a 222-vote lead. The race for Benton’s 17th District seat is the closest Senate race in the state.

Currently, Democrats hold a 27-22 majority in the Senate.

A total of 19,371 ballots were counted Thursday at the Clark County Elections Office.

Of those, 4,685 were from the 17th Legislative District.

In the race for Probst’s seat in the House of Representatives, Republican Julie Olson extended her lead over Democrat Monica Stonier to 207 votes from her Election Day lead of 78 votes.

Also Thursday, Democrat Joe Tanner conceded to Clark County Commissioner Tom Mielke after Mielke extended his lead to 4,839 votes.

Tanner said he called and left a congratulatory message for Mielke, a Republican who won his second term.

On Wednesday, Tanner said his volunteers had encouraged him to wait until all of the ballots were counted, but on Thursday he was ready to acknowledge his loss.

“I am really a turn-the-page guy,” Tanner said. “I want to turn the page, and look for a very productive way to serve my family and serve my community.”

More than 20,000 ballots are left to be counted.

Each ballot is examined by elections workers at least three times, and even more times if there are any irregularities.

Ballots had to be postmarked by Tuesday, so some will continue to trickle in through the mail in the coming days, said Elections Supervisor Tim Likness.

By Thursday, the Clark County Elections Department had received 192,355 of the 243,155 ballots sent to registered voters in the general election.

So far, that’s a voter turnout of 79.1 percent.

Stephanie Rice: 360-735-4508 or stephanie.rice@columbian.com.