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Harring pulls ahead; Sno-Isle hanging on

Voters will have to wait for the final vote count to get definitive answers in the Nov. 4 election.

There’s still no clear victor in the race for position two on the Oak Harbor School Board. In the latest count, School Board President Vicki Harring has pulled ahead of challenger Roy Seth, but just by 51 votes. On election night, Seth had a scant four vote lead, but more votes were counted later in the week.

With 2,800 absentee ballots left to count, Harring has 2,739 votes and Seth has 2,688. In the other school board race, incumbent Kathleen Jones is far ahead of challenger Brien Lillquist, by 3,979 to 1,409.

Both Harring and Seth said they will be at peace and will continue to be involved in the schools no matter which way the election goes. “I still have a lot of unfinished business I want to do,” Harring said, “but that doesn’t mean I have to be on the board. I won’t just turn my back on the school district.”

Harring points to the high school remodel, the stadium, new student testing and graduation requirements. “There’s a lot of work to do,” she said.

In another close one, the two-county Sno-Isle Library levy is holding on because of Island County voters. The levy is passing with 51.53 percent of the vote, that’s 52,879 “yes” votes to 49,748 votes “no.”

While Island County voters favored the levy by a margin of 9,684 to 5,797, Snohomish County voters are against it by 43,951 to 43,195. So far the Island County vote looks like enough to pass the levy, but both counties have many absentee left to count.

“I’m cautiously optimistic,” said Jonalyn Woolf-Ivory, director of Sno-Isle Library System. She credits increased library services in Island County for the voters’ support. “I think people are very familiar and use the libraries a lot in Island County.”

In Oak Harbor races, Mayor Patty Cohen has pulled farther ahead of challenger Bob Morrison, by 1,590 to 1,243.

Larry Eaton retains a slim lead over incumbent Council member Nora O’Connell-Balda. Eaton has 1,422 and O’Connell-Balda has 1,221 votes. Sue Karahalios has about twice as many votes as Clairann Haney for Morrison’s council seat. It’s 1,767 to 881.

If the leads hold, Karahalios said she and Eaton will help “diversify” the board, though she added it’s clear that none of the candidates have a mandate.

“I think that the council will be asking questions a little more,” she said. “I think we’ll bring up some ideas that haven’t been broached yet.”

In other races, Bruce Bryson is ahead of Ron Vandyke for a Port of Coupeville commissioner seat. Dr. Paul Zaveruha is beating Amy Ayers, 8,328 to 3,470, for a Whidbey Island Public Hospital commissioner position.

In the race for two commissioner positions for the North Whidbey Park and Recreation District, Fred Henninger has a lead of 3,087 to 1,798 votes over incumbent commissioner T.J. Harmon-Fisher. Tom Johnson is ahead of Fred Smyth by 3,011 to 1,714.

Finally, long-time commissioner with Island County Fire District 2 Bruce Carman is losing to challenger Larry Morse by 1,258 to 1,939.

Both Island and Snohomish counties will tally more votes next week. Election results won’t be final until Nov. 19.

You can reach News-Times reporter Jessie Stensland at jstensland@whidbeynewstimes.com or call 675-6611.

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