Home USA News Day 3: Whatcom ballot counts: Democrats appear to hold lead

Day 3: Whatcom ballot counts: Democrats appear to hold lead


Voters in the 42nd Legislative District may not know until next week who will represent them in Olympia, as the state House and Senate races remained close after the third round of voting was announced around 5:00 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 10. .

The fate of an initiative to fund child care programs and other early learning services also remained close Thursday, with the margin between approval and failure narrowing further Thursday after early returns suggested it would falter.

Meanwhile, Whatcom County Democrats were hoping to complete a historic shift in the traditionally conservative 42nd Legislative District and Senate by retaining their leadership Thursday.

In the 42nd District Senate race, state Rep. Sharon Shawmake of Bellingham led state Sen. Simon Sefzik 51 percent to 49 percent for the four-year term seat.

Shemake led by 947 votes out of 69,374 ballots cast in that race, but her lead has narrowed.

In the 42nd District, there are two home races:

Rep. Alicia Ruhl, D-Blaine, edged out GOP challenger Tausha Dykstra Thompson of Linden, 52 percent to 48 percent, for the two-year term in House No. 1.

Bellingham Democrat Joe Timmons edged Republican Dan Johnson of Laurel 51% to 49% for the second two-year House seat.

The midterm elections in the 42nd District, which includes most of downtown Bellingham, the city’s northern neighborhoods and the rest of northern and eastern Whatcom County, were closely watched locally and statewide.

Both House and Senate seats were on the ballot in the 42nd District contributions for all six candidates raised a total of nearly $2.5 million, according to the state Disclosure Commission.

In addition, political action committees — mostly affiliated with the Republican and Democratic parties — made nearly $3.5 million in independent donations for and against the six candidates.

They were the closest and were difficult to draw from more than 20,000 ballots that still needed to be checked, processed and tabulated on Thursday, November 10, two days after the 8pm deadline on Tuesday, November 8 .

Republicans sought to regain seats in the House of Representatives and keep the Senate in a traditionally red district that has become bluer in recent election cycles.

There were ballots the calculation takes more time in the general election because of a last-minute stampede of voters and the lingering effects of last week’s storm, which knocked out power and damaged fiber optic lines critical to the ballot verification process, Whatcom County Auditor Diana Bradrick said Wednesday, Nov. 9.

The results released Thursday included ballots that had not previously been processed or tabulated.

Ballots that arrive in the mail on Friday, November 11 and after will be counted if they are placed by 8:00 p.m. on Tuesday. November 8.

The next release of the total voting results was scheduled for around 5pm on Monday, November 14, and the Audit Office’s website said there were an estimated 7,500 ballots left to be counted.

Child care tax

Proposition 5, a countywide property tax measure to fund child care, preschool and other programs and services for children and families, failed 49.4% to 50.6%, a far smaller margin than on election night .

A simple majority was required for approval.

Voter turnout

About 102,187 ballots had been counted by 5 p.m. Thursday in Whatcom County, with a 72 percent turnout, according to the websites of the Washington Secretary of State’s office and the Whatcom County Auditor’s Office.

The turnout across the country was 62%.

There were 157,580 registered voters in Whatcom County, according to the Whatcom County Auditor’s Office.

On the ballot in Whatcom County were elections for the United States Congress and state Legislature, Secretary of State, State Supreme Court and statewide advisory measures, two local tax initiatives, district court judges and other local offices and measures.

This story was originally published November 10, 2022 at 5:37 p.m.

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Robert Mittendorf covers civic issues, weather, traffic and how people are coping with high housing costs for The Bellingham Herald. A journalist since 1984, he is also a volunteer firefighter with the South Whatcom Fire Department.

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