3 Washington state legislative races heading for recounts

The districts involved are in Whatcom, Pierce and Kitsap counties.

By Rachel La Corte / Associated Press

OLYMPIA — Three legislative races in Washington state are heading to a hand recount after election results are certified next week.

For the open Senate seat in the 26th District, Democrat Emily Randall is leading by 99 votes as of Friday over Republican Marty McClendon. The two are vying to replace Republican Sen. Jan Angel, who is retiring. In the 42nd District, Republican Sen. Doug Ericksen led Democratic challenger Pinky Vargas by just 45 votes. And Ericksen’s seatmate in the House, Republican Rep. Luanne Van Werven, led Democrat Justin Boneau by 80 votes.

Counties will certify election results Tuesday. But for those three races, a recount will follow.

State law requires a machine recount when the difference between the top two candidates is less than 2,000 votes and also less than 0.50 percent of the total number of votes cast for both candidates. A manual recount is required when the difference is less than 150 votes and also less than 0.25 percent of the total votes cast in the race.

The 26th District spans Pierce and Kitsap counties.

Pierce County’s recount is expected to start the week of Dec. 4, when more than 37,000 ballots cast in the race will be hand-checked. County election officials say they plan to certify the results of the recount on Dec. 7.

Nearly 35,000 ballots from Kitsap County also will be recounted in the coming weeks.

The 42nd District is entirely within Whatcom County. Auditor Debbie Adelstein said she expects the recounts for both the House and Senate races in her county to begin next Thursday. More than 72,000 ballots were cast in each race.

Democrats expanded their hold on both chambers in this month’s election, and if Friday’s results don’t change after the recounts, they will have picked up three seats in the Senate and seven in the House previously held by Republicans. That will mean a 28-21 Democratic majority in the Senate and a 57-41 edge in the House.

The Legislature starts its 105-day session on Jan. 14.

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