There are still plenty of ballots to be counted, but it looks like a Greenacres organic farmer and former TV news personality may end up challenging a well-liked and popular incumbent for Congress.
Democrat Daryl Romeyn, a longtime weather reporter on KREM-TV, rose to the top of the heap of five challengers in Tuesday’s primary to take on Cathy McMorris Rodgers in the November general election. The incumbent, who won re-election in 2008 with 65 percent of the vote, garnered a 62.5 percent lead in the six-way race.
As of Tuesday, Romeyn – who was not backed by the local Democratic Party – had 12.34 percent of the vote across the 5th District, which includes Adams, Asotin, Columbia, Ferry, Garfield, Lincoln Okanogan, Pend Oreille, Spokane, Stevens, Walla Walla and Whitman counties.
Randall Yearout – a Constitution Party candidate from Otis Orchards, who has run against McMorris Rodgers before – trailed along with David Fox, Clyde Cordero (also from Spokane Valley and party choice) and perennial office-seeker Barbara Lampert. The latter, however, trailed by just under 3,000 votes on Tuesday.
Vicki Horton of Newman Lake held a slim lead for second place behind county Assessor Ralph Baker, who led with 20,981 votes as of Tuesday. Horton – who works for Baker -- is being chased by Andrew Jackson, who had 12,943 votes to Horton’s 14,502.
In the county prosecutor election, however, incumbent and Valley resident Steve Tucker is receiving strong pressure from challenger Frank Malone. Tucker, who is seeking a fourth term in office, had 17,938 votes to Malone’s 20,010.
In other news, the Spokane County Library District replacement will pass, with 21,214 in favor to 18,102 opposed. The levy only needed a simple majority for passage.
In Fire District 9 north of Spokane Valley, a 60-percent supermajority was needed for passage of its replacement maintenance and operation levy, and 4,743 said yes – enough for nearly 64 percent.
The Spokane County Elections office counted 72,471 ballots Tuesday. Additional ballots are arriving and will be processed in the next few days.
Final voter turnout is expected to exceed 40 percent. Results, however, will not be certified until Sept. 1.