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Wick and Haley hold leads in Spokane Valley, other races are tight

Rebecca White/SPR

Spokane Valley Mayor Ben Wick had a commanding lead to retain his city council seat, according to results released Tuesday evening.

Wick, the leader of the city council's 4-3 moderate majority, led challenger Brandon Fenton 66 to 33 percent. Though both Republicans, Fenton criticized incumbent Wick as "Republican in name only" and promised a brasher political stance, aligning hmself with former president Donald Trump and promising to "Make Spokane Valley Great Again."

For Position 4, incumbent Pam Haley had a big lead over challenger Wayne Fenton, 67 percent to 30 percent, respectively. Following contours similar to the Position 4 race, both candidates are conservative, but they differed on some key points. Fenton is the father of fellow candidate Brandon.

Election returns released by the Spokane County Auditor's office shortly after 8:00 p.m. showed two tight races. Retired educator James Johnson held a three percentage point lead over incumbent Rod Higgins for Position 1 -- 51 percent to 48 percent. Johnson positioned himself as a more moderate choice than the conservative Higgins. Johnson is a member of the county’s human rights task force and has previously served on the city’s planning commission. Higgins has worked in mining and as a financial planner. He was also previously the city’s mayor.

In the race for Position 7, Laura Padden held a slim lead over incumbent Linda Thompson, 51 percent to 48 percent, respectively. Thompson is an anti-drunk driving advocate and leads a non-profit.  Padden most recently worked as a web developer for Community Colleges of Spokane and is married to long-time Republican State Senator Mike Padden. Their primary race was also a tight one; Thompson won by just five percent.

Rebecca White is a 2018 graduate of Edward R Murrow College of Communication at Washington State University. She's been a reporter at Spokane Public Radio since February 2021. She got her start interning at her hometown paper The Dayton Chronicle and previously covered county government at The Spokesman-Review.