State representative race still in the air

It’s still too close to call a winner in one of the races for 10th District state representative. The latest election results show Dave Paul just slightly ahead of incumbent Dave Hayes, R-Camano.

However, the results are far from final after a folding error meant thousands of ballots had to be counted by hand in Skagit County.

Statewide, the Oak Harbor Democrat has 50.15 percent of the vote as of Monday afternoon.

“I’m cautiously optimistic that we’re going to win,” Paul said.

There are an estimated 22,000 Skagit ballots left to count, according to the neighboring county’s election website.

Hayes said he has historically won in that county and that he feels he good about his chances.

“We’re still holding out hope that we’ll pull ahead,” Hayes said.

Paul currently holds more than 52 percent of Skagit County’s vote with 5,296.

The manner in which the ballots were folded created a crease through some of the boxes, which caused errors in the way computers recorded votes, the Skagit Valley Herald reported.

Staff are in the process of manually checking each of the affected ballots, according to article.

Island County had its own ballot-related mishap after the U.S. Postal Service misrouted two containers of ballots before the election.

This mistake left a number of residents without the proper documents just weeks before election day.

Hayes was first elected to the state House of Representatives in 2012 and has never been in such a closely contested race.

Hayes said he’s currently focused on fulfilling his duties as a legislator.

“It’s definitely stressful,” he said. “… I’m staying busy and just continuing to work hard like I always have.”

Paul, who garnered almost 53 percent of the vote in Island County, said at this point he’s just happy with how the process went. He’s been pleased with the campaign and the results thus far.

“Regardless of the outcome, it was a great experience,” Paul said.

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