Clyde Shavers, left, and Greg Gilday.

Clyde Shavers, left, and Greg Gilday.

Shavers holds 189-vote lead on Gilday in race still too close to call

Shavers, a Democrat, is looking to unseat Gilday, a first-term GOP lawmaker. The outcome could be clear in Wednesday’s tally.

EVERETT — One of the year’s fiercest election battles for a legislative seat inched closer to resolution Tuesday.

Democrat Clyde Shavers held a 189-vote lead on Republican Rep. Greg Gilday in their duel for a House seat in the 10th District. The winner will earn a two-year term representing Island County, north Snohomish County and south Skagit County.

“From day one, we knew this was going to be a very close race so we’re not surprised by the current numbers,” Shavers said in a text message.

Gilday, 44, an attorney and real estate agent from Camano Island, is seeking a second term. He is no stranger to close races as he won in 2020 by 891 votes.

“It has been such a roller coaster,” Gilday said. “We may not know until tomorrow night (Wednesday) or even Thursday.”

Shavers, 32, is a Navy veteran and law school graduate from Oak Harbor who is making his first run for elected office.

He led on election night by 2,312 votes, increasing the lead to 2,507 votes in the second day of ballot counting. Gilday then started chipping away at the deficit in subsequent counts, moving in front for the first time, by 15 votes, in Monday’s tally.

But 24 hours later, the pendulum swung back in Shavers favor. The current advantage may be too much to overcome as most of the uncounted ballots are in Skagit County where Shavers is beating Gilday.

“We’re very optimistic about the outcome given that most of the remaining ballots are from Skagit County,” Shavers said.

As of Tuesday, the margin in the race was 0.27%, close enough to trigger a machine recount.

Under state law, if the difference between the two candidates is less than 2,000 votes and less than 0.50%, then a machine recount is done. A hand recount is required when the final margin is less than 150 votes and also less than 0.25%.

If a recount is required, it would get underway after results are certified Nov. 29.

Jerry Cornfield: 360-352-8623;; Twitter: @dospueblos.

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