Two Spokane city council members are ahead after the first round of ballots have been counted. Lori Kinnear has a big lead over her challenger, Tony Kiepe, in the South district race.
In the Northwest, Karen Stratton leads Andy Rathbun by 400 votes out of 13,000 counted in her quest to win a second term.
“I’m glad that I ran a positive campaign and I would characterize this race as being probably one of the most difficult races that I’ve been involved with because I think it got personal and it got mean spirited from my opponent," Stratton said.
She was referring to the publicity surrounding the news that she and her husband had once filed for personal bankruptcy.
Rathbun, despite being behind, is upbeat about his chances of reversing the outcome.
“I’m not down and out at all," Rathbun said. "I’m running against an incumbent and the initial votes are in and we’re only 400 votes down and we’ve got quite a few days to go. In the primary, we did better day by day as the votes came in and I think we’re getting stronger votes here at the end that are going to help us to a win.”
County officials estimate there are 34,000 votes left to count. It’s not known how many of those are in the Northwest district.
In the South district, Spokane City Councilwoman Lori Kinnear is headed toward a big victory in her quest for a second term on the city council.
Kinnear has about 67% of the vote to Tony Kiepe's 32% after the first night of ballot counting.
“I think [she won handily] because I have a track record of listening and getting results for them, so they air their concerns. It’s not about me, it’s about them. They air their concerns and I look for solutions," she said.
In the Northeast, political consultant Michael Cathcart appears ready to take a seat on the Spokane City Council.
The executive director of the group Better Spokane is leading Tim Benn by nine percentage points in the Northeast district race to replace Mike Fagan on the council.
“It’s hard to say for sure [why he won], but I think the different styles of our campaign may have been part of it," he said. "We really just tried to focus on the positive vision, the things that we can accomplish for northeast Spokane, especially. I think the message really resonated with the voters, to do something different than what we’ve been doing to really improve the situation for our part of Spokane.”
Cathcart had something else to celebrate Tuesday night, the passage of two propositions on the city ballot, both of which he sponsored.
Proposition 1 opens collective bargaining involving city employees to public scrutiny, including open negotiating sessions and public access to the contracts negotiated. It had received about 78% ‘yes’ votes Tuesday night. Proposition 2, which forbids the city from pursuing a local income tax, is winning with 73% approval.