LONG BEACH, Wash. - If you ever have any doubt that one vote counts, consider the Long Beach City Council election.
For Position 5, Diana Tehrani and Jerry Phillips are in a nail-biter. Counts announced Tuesday night show Tehrani with 180 votes and Phillips with 178.
Because postmarks count in Washington elections, Pacific County Elections staff will continue to receive ballots in the all-mail election during the rest of this week. County Auditor Pat Gardner said staff will count again Monday and certify the election Nov. 29.
In the other Long Beach City Council race, Betty Ahern garnered 191 votes to Richard Weir's 133 for Position 4.
Ilwaco City Council has one close race too. For Position 3, Fred Marshall is ahead with 159 and Al "Butch" Smith behind with 145.
In the other race, for Position 2, David Fritts has 186 votes; his challenger, Don Berger, polled 101.
Doug Hubbard was unopposed for mayor of Ilwaco, taking over the gavel from long-serving Ed Leonard, and incumbent David Jensen was re-elected unopposed for Position 1 on the City Council.
The excitement of the close races came on a night where District 19 state Rep. Dean Takko of Longview, Wash., the appointed incumbent Democrat, easily won the right to serve out the remaining one year of his term in the Washington state Legislature. Republican Dawn Courtney and Libertarian Judi Roberts Fiest, both of Castle Rock, Wash., trailed by considerable margins as results were tallied from Pacific, Wahkiakum and parts of Grays Harbor and Cowlitz counties that form the district.
Takko's Pacific County margin was 4,241 to Courtney's 1,994 and Fiest's 358. The pattern was repeated throughout the region, showing Takko ahead with a total four-county tally of 13,964 (61 percent), Courtney showing a total of 7,690 and Fiest 1,098.
Takko was appointed to the position by the district's county commissioners and was required to run for election for the remainder of the term. The position opened when Brian Hatfield of Raymond, who was elected in 2004, resigned shortly afterward to take a job with the Washington lieutenant governor's office.
"Having been appointed, I kind of feel like this is an affirmation - 'You went up there, you represented us well and we liked what you did,"' said Takko, who characterized himself as a political moderate. He will face another election for the House seat in 2006.
The southwestern district, long a Democratic stronghold, has suffered economically during the timber industry's decline. The GOP was attempting to make inroads with Courtney, who lost a primary bid to challenge Democratic U.S. Rep. Brian Baird in 2004.
Courtney said her campaign helped to define a right-leaning base in the district.
The GOP businesswoman said she was puzzled that at least one of the district's counties was voting to repeal the state gas tax increase, but didn't similarly support a Republican legislative candidate.
"These initiatives to rollback taxes are going to continue and continue and continue until we elect representatives who aren't going to increase taxes in the first place," she said.
Elsewhere, Naselle-Grays River School Board had three seats on the ballot. Two incumbents, Gilbert Haataia of Naselle in District 4 and Deanna Moomijan-Gjovik of South Bend in District 5, were elected unopposed. The one contested seat is District 2 which sees two Rosburg candidates Nancy McGuire is leading Linda Strong 157 to 127.
Two unopposed newcomers won four-year terms on the Ocean Beach School Board. They are Larry Phelps of Long Beach and Kris Kaino of Ilwaco.
In Pacific County Fire District 1, the race for Commissioner 3 featured a strong showing for Tom Downer of Ocean Park. He polled 1,387 votes to Doug Knutzen of Long Beach's 992. Downer will serve a six-year term on the district's governing body.
For the Port of Ilwaco, Dick Siefert of Long Beach was unopposed for District 1. In District 2, Dave Nichols of Ilwaco was ahead with 558, leading Edwin Erola of Chinook with 475. The winner will take over from unseated incumbent Dick Watrous, who lost in the primary.
For the Port of Peninsula, Bobbie Reynolds who was ahead with 1,081 to Brad Bauman's 793 votes.
For the Port of Chinook, Edgar "Corky" Wilson was unopposed for District 2 and Kenneth Greenfield was unopposed for Position 3.
For the Port of Willapa Harbor, Tim Bond of South Bend was unopposed for District 2.
DeWayne LaPointe of Ocean Park was unopposed for a six-year term on the Public Hospital District 3 board which operates Ocean Beach Hospital in Ilwaco.
For Seaview Sewer District, Troy Ramsey was unopposed for Position 2. For Chinook Water District, two candidates are unopposed. They were Timothy Seeker for Position 1 and Kenneth Osborne for Position 3.
For Willapa Valley Water District, two candidates were unopposed: Mike Sullivan for Position 1 and Jerry Jones and Position 3. Both are from Raymond.
Pacific County voters were also helping to determine six statewide measures. County totals appear on Page 5 today.
Initiative 900 seeks audits of state and local governments; it was supported in Pacific County and statewide.
Initiative 901 would ban smoking in public buildings and vehicles and within 25 feet of doorways; it was supported in Pacific County and statewide.
Initiative 912 would repeal gas tax increases of 3 cents per gallon in 2005 and 2006, 2 cents in 2007 and 1.5 cents in 2008. The taxes were levied to boost state transportation funding. It was supported in Pacific County but losing in close statewide returns.
Initiative 330 would have capped economic damages for medical malpractice suits at $350,000 and restrict payments to insurers and attorneys. It was losing in a close race in Pacific County and also statewide.
Initiative 336 would have imposed changes in insurance notification procedures and in malpractice suits limited expert witnesses and revoked doctors' licenses after three "incidents." It was supported in Pacific County but is losing statewide.
Senate Joint Resolution 8207 amends the constitution to allow judges to select one member of the commission on judicial conduct. It was supported in Pacific County and easily passed statewide.