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Council Chair race gap continues to widen, but still too close to call

Eileen Quiring’s lead has grown, but Eric Holt’s camp still hasn’t given up hope

CLARK COUNTY — With an estimated 7,000 ballots still to be counted, the Clark County chair race still remains a tight one, but it’s becoming much less likely that Eric Holt will pull out a miracle.

As of Friday night, Holt trailed District 4 Councilor Eileen Quiring by 1,680 votes. Still less than a full percentage point of difference.

Clark County Chair candidates Eileen Quiring and Eric Holt. Photos by Jacob Granneman and Chris Brown
Clark County Chair candidates Eileen Quiring and Eric Holt. Photos by Jacob Granneman and Chris Brown

On Thursday evening, Holt said their campaign was prepared to push for a recount if the margin remained as close as it was. Holt’s campaign has not responded to a request for comment on Friday’s results.

Quiring, who trailed Holt by over 1,200 votes on election night, said she attended an event at Cathedral Tapatia put on by 17th District Representative Vicki Kraft whose opponent, Tanisha Harris, conceded the close race on Thursday night.

“We have a lot of the same supporters,” says Quiring of Kraft, a Republican, before adding, “once I saw the first results I thought ‘bye-bye.'”

But later that evening, Quiring says she got a boost of morale from a few people who said history was on her side.

“I got a couple calls … that said ‘Eileen, you know, you just need to know the history. It will trend your way when they start counting more votes, and later votes,’” Quiring tells ClarkCountyToday.com.

One example she was given was 2008 when Republican Tom Mielke beat Pam Brokaw by just over 200 votes, after trailing by 4,500 votes on election night.

“That wasn’t the way it was for me in Oregon,” says Quiring, referring to her time in the state legislature there.

State law in Washington calls for a mandatory recount if the difference between two candidates is less than one-half of one percent and also less than 2,000 votes. While the county chair race is separated by fewer than 2,000 votes currently, it is more than one-half of one percent.

If the final tally is outside of the mandatory recount margin, the losing campaign could request a recount, but would be required to pay for the recount. That would include a deposit of 25 cents per ballot cast, for a manual recount, or 15 cents for a machine recount. If the results of the election were overturned, the county would refund the campaign for the cost of the recount.

The next release of ballot counts is expected Tuesday evening, because Monday is Veteran’s Day, a Federal holiday.

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About The Author

Chris Brown comes to Clark County Today with 15 years of local news experience as a reporter, editor, and anchor at KXL News Radio and KOIN-6 TV in Portland. In 2016, he won an Oregon Association of Broadcaster's award for Best Investigative Reporting for a series on America's Violent Youth. He has also been awarded by the Associated Press for Best Breaking News coverage as editor of Portland's Morning News following the 2015 school shooting at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon. The second oldest of eight home-schooled children, Brown graduated from high school two years early. After several odd jobs, he earned an internship at KXL Radio, eventually working his way into a full-time job. Brown has lived in Clark County his entire life, and is very excited at the opportunity to now focus full-time on the significant stories happening in his own back yard, rather than across “the river.’’ After a few years in Vancouver, he recently moved back to Battle Ground with his wife and two young daughters. When he's not working to report what's happening in Clark County, Brown enjoys spending time with his family, playing music, taking pictures, or working in the yard. He also actually does enjoy long walks on the beach, and sunsets.

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