Races for Clark County Council District 3 and state representative in the 17th Legislative District too close to call
Election Day 2020 has passed. However, the Nov. 3 general election is far from over, both nationally and in Clark County.
Two key races in Clark County are too close to call as initial results released by the Clark County Elections Department revealed that they were too close to determine a winner.
In the race for state representative, position No. 1 in the 17th Legislative District, Democrat challenger Tanisha Harris continues to hold a lead over incumbent Republican Vicki Kraft. After Tuesday’s initial results, Harris had a lead of 1,612 votes. The second set of results was released Wednesday afternoon and Kraft had closed the gap to 869 votes.
In the race for the Clark County Council District 3 position, Democrat Jesse James had an advantage of 1,110 votes over Republican Karen Bowerman on Tuesday night. On Wednesday, Bowerman trimmed James’ lead to 216 votes.
The initial election results released Tuesday night reflected the counted ballots of 220,476 of Clark County’s 324,642 registered voters. Clark County Auditor Greg Kimsey, who had projected a turnout of as high as 90 percent of registered voters, told Clark County Today Tuesday night that there were plenty of ballots left to be counted this week.
“We think between now and when we certify the election, we could have maybe an additional 60 or 70,000 ballots counted,’’ Kimsey said.
Wednesday’s results reflected another 16,342 ballots counted, for a total of 236,818 voters represented. According to Kimsey’s initial estimate, that leaves 40 to 50,000 ballots still remaining to be counted.
Clark County Elections officials will release additional results on a daily basis, usually by 5 p.m.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the Harris-Kraft race is one of the tightest in Clark County. Two years ago, Kraft won re-election to the Washington State Legislature by defeating Harris by just 859 votes. On Wednesday night, it was revealed that Harris had 35,266 votes thus far, or 50.62 percent, and Kraft had 34,397, or 49.38 percent.
Prior to Wednesday’s updated count, Harris Campaign Manager Tiffany Burnette told Clark County Today via email, “we know that races in the 17th LD are always close, that is why we are going to respect the election process and ensure that all the votes are counted. Our Campaign Team has worked incredibly hard and we are pleased with the first round of numbers and will remain cautiously optimistic in keeping the lead.’’
Burnette relayed appreciation from Harris for the support of voters. “I want to thank all the voters who voted in this election and appreciate the opportunity to hopefully be the next 17th LD State Representative,’’ Harris stated.
Kraft expressed optimism when contacted by Clark County Today early Wednesday.
“I appreciate all those supporting me in this race and the citizens of the 17th Legislative District making their voice heard by voting,’’ Kraft wrote via email. “I remain very hopeful as we look to the coming days and final votes being counted. I’m thankful to be in a good position to win as Republicans tend to vote later in our county.’’
In the District 3 County Council race, James currently has 24,150 votes, or 50.22 percent, and Bowerman received 23,934, or 49.78 percent. It is unclear how many of the remaining ballots left to be counted in Clark County are from this council district, but both candidates were reluctant to make any assumptions by the first round of results.
“At this time it is too early to make a statement,’’ James said prior to Wednesday’s update. “We’ll be waiting on tonight’s count to see what happens.’’
Tuesday’s initial results showed a significant shift in votes from the primary, when Bowerman earned the most votes (44.41 percent), followed by James (33.97 percent) and current Clark County Councilor John Blom (21.62 percent). Blom did not advance to the general election.
“We’ll keep a close eye on changes through November 24 as the next 60,000 votes are tabulated in Clark County,” Bowerman wrote to Clark County Today in an email response. “A hearty ‘thank you’ goes to my supporters who were ready for me to be part of a team to lower citizens’ taxes and to control against unnecessary regulations on small business! I looked forward to serving by putting my background to use right here at home to help return jobs to Clark County. There is great power in the democratic system because of the thousands of voters who participate in the county election process. Many important issues have been raised during this campaign, and I urge my supporters to continue fighting toward these goals, as will I continue to work with you.”