McKeen closes gap; Kent claims irregularities


November 10, 2022

The election race for the position of Wahkiakum County prosecuting attorney became tighter Thursday with the second count of mail-in ballots.

Incumbent Democrat Dan Bigelow led Independent challenger Holly McKeen 1,093 to 963 on Tuesday, a lead of 130 votes.

After Thursday's count, Bigelow leads 1,241-1,155, a lead of 86 votes. The county auditor's elections website estimates there are another 100 ballots left to count; the next count will be Nov. 28.

In the county's other contested race, incumbent Gene Strong boosted his lead over challenger Blair Brady to 1,519-686 in the race for District 3 county commissioner. Strong ran as an Independent, and Brady stated no party preference.

In a race for the District 3 seat in the US House of Representatives, Democrat Marie Guelsenkamp Perez holds a shrinking lead over Trump endorsed Republican Joe Kent.

On election night, Guelsenkamp Perez had 52.62% of the vote, and Kent had 46.8%. As of Friday morning, following updated tallies of mail-in votes, Guelsenkamp Perez had 132,161 votes, 50.85% of the total, and Kent had 126,279, 48.58%.

In Wahkiakum County, Kent led the updated tally 1,371-1,084.

The next count in Pacific County will be Tuesday. On election night, Guelsenkamp Perez led Kent 4,929-4,478.

Before the election, Kent had said he would accept the results, but he has now started claiming there have been irregularities.

On election day, he sent an email to media and supporters stating, "So far, over 2000 Republican ballots have been rejected by Boards of Elections across my district. You may remember that I won my primary by a margin of just 1000 ballots. These rejected ballots could make the difference in my race."

There was no response to an email from The Eagle asking how the Kent campaign knew the "2,000 Republican ballots" had been rejected.

And on Thursday, KUOW public radio in Seattle reported "Kent went on the ‘War Room' podcast Thursday with former Trump advisor and conspiracy theorist Steve Bannon, who asked why the ballot count is taking so long in the race.

"Kent claimed without evidence that it's because election officials are up to no good."

The report stated the Kent campaign didn't respond to a request for more information.

[Under Washington election law, mail-in ballots postmarked on or before election day may be counted until the election's are certified, which will be Nov. 29. --editor]


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