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Spokane Vote Count Will Determine Veto Power Of New Mayor-Elect

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Doug Nadvornick/SPR
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The vote count will continue tomorrow [Tuesday] in Spokane County as elections officials work through the last group of ballots.

One question still unanswered is whether the progressive majority on the Spokane City Council will continue to have the numbers needed to override vetoes by the new mayor.

For the last couple of years, six council members have voted as a group with the ability to advance proposals that split the council along ideological lines. And they’ve been able to override Mayor David Condon’s vetoes.

Two of those six, Candace Mumm and Kate Burke, didn’t face election this year. A third, Lori Kinnear, will be re-elected. A fourth, Breean Beggs, will be on the council one way or another, whether in his current seat in the South district or as council president. A fifth, Karen Stratton, is leading her race, but barely. If Beggs is elected council president, his colleagues would choose his replacement, potentially allowing the voting bloc to stay at six members.

Some candidates during the recent campaign espoused the need for more balance to stop what they see a push for a Seattle-style progressive agenda. They’ve celebrated the apparent victories of Nadine Woodward for mayor and Michael Cathcart for city council in the Northeast district. And they’re holding out hope for Cindy Wendle for council president and Andy Rathbun in the Northwest. Wendle is clinging to a slim lead and Rathbun is gaining on the incumbent Stratton. Both races are still too close to call.

There are still 9,600 votes to be counted during the next two weeks, when the election will be certified. They will determine some of the balance of power between the mayor’s office and the council and whether the new mayor’s veto will have much bite.