The race for Clark County council chair narrowed Wednesday between top-three candidates Marc Boldt, no party preference, Mike Dalesandro, Democrat, and David Madore, Republican.
Of the 61,854 ballots counted as of Wednesday evening, Boldt led the race with 16,488 votes, or 26.93 percent.
“I’m pleased that we kept the lead,” Boldt said. “It’s a little bit, but hopefully it’ll hold.”
Dalesandro trailed close behind with 16,360 votes, or 26.72 percent. Dalesandro said he was “still cautiously optimistic” about the results.
“Basically, over half the voters in Clark County that voted wanted a change,” he said. “They were tired with the incumbents. I still think my campaign is the campaign that can hit the reset button.”
The spread between Dalesandro and current councilor Madore tightened, with Madore receiving 15,462 votes, or 25.26 percent.
Councilors Jeanne Stewart and Tom Mielke, meanwhile, trailed far behind their opponents, with Stewart receiving 9,062 votes for 14.8 percent, and Mielke receiving 3,849 votes, or 6.29 percent.
The Clark County Elections Office counted an additional 10,781 ballots Wednesday, and Auditor Greg Kimsey estimates there are still another 3,000 to count. That’s likely a generous estimate, however, he said.
All ballots submitted through one of Clark County’s 34 drop-off locations have been counted, he said, leaving only the mailed-in ballots to count.
Madore did not return a phone call or text message from a Columbian reporter Tuesday night and did not appear for a CVTV interview. He predicted on his Facebook page that final ballot counts would work in his favor, recalling the 2014 race when fellow councilor Stewart seemed to be losing to Democratic candidate Craig Pridemore on election night.
“The post-election ballots trend much more conservative than liberal ballots,” Madore wrote, continuing that if the trend continues, “the tide will carry us over the finish line.”
Madore picked up an additional 3,310 votes Wednesday. Dalesandro received 2,727 more votes, and Boldt received 2,551 more. If the distribution remains consistent and 3,000 more ballots do come in, Madore will likely fall less than 1,000 votes short of one of the top spots, sending Dalesandro and Boldt into the Nov. 3 general election.
To trigger an automatic recount, the difference between candidates must be less than 2,000 votes and also be less than 0.5 percent of votes cast in the race, according to the Washington Secretary of State’s Office. There are no recounts if the first and second candidates are close in a primary election, but a mandatory recount may be ordered if the results between the second- and third-place candidates in a primary election meet the necessary threshold, the office’s website said.
Any person or group, however, can request and pay for a recount, the office’s website said.
Clark County council District 2 candidates Julie Olson, a Republican, and Chuck Green, a Democrat, maintained a comfortable lead in their race. Olson took 5,468 of the 17,939 votes counted in that race, for 31.12 percent. Green had 4,617 votes, or 26.28 percent.
Voter turnout is currently at 24.67 percent, less than the 30 percent Kimsey predicted.