Wednesday, November 6, 2002
After months of campaigning, radio and newspaper advertising, and candidates' nights performances, the voters finally had their say on Nov. 5. And it appears that voters wanted to maintain the status quo in Klickitat County and elsewhere around the region.
Across the board, incumbents appeared to be heading toward victory in the county and in local legislative districts.
Early and unofficial numbers show three-term incumbent County Commissioner Joan Frey, Republican, leading by a substantial margin in her bid for a fourth term against Democrat Chris Connolly.
Early results showed Frey with 3,635 votes in her campaign for a new four-year term, while Connolly had 2,043 votes.
Incumbent Prosecuting Attorney Tim O'Neill (R) also was leading in his bid to earn a four-year term over Gwendolyn Grundei (D). O'Neill was leading with 3,339 votes to Grundei's 2,179.
In the hotly contested race for the Auditor's Office, incumbent Democrat Diana Housden was leading over her Republican challenger, Larry Gourley, by a margin of 3,055 to 2,497.
In the race for Assessor, incumbent Van Vandenberg, Republican, was leading over Democrat Steve Johnston, 3,276 to 2,210.
The incumbent Republican Sheriff, Chris Mace, swept to an easy win over the challenge of Joe Merry, a late write-in candidate. Early numbers showed Mace with 3,645 votes, while there were about 940 write-in votes.
It was the same story in two local races for U.S. Congress. U.S. Rep. Doc Hastings (R) won another term to represent the Fourth District of Washington. Hastings topped Craig Mason (D) by about 66 percent to 34 percent.
In the Third District, incumbent U.S. Rep. Brian Baird (D) easily won over Joe Zarelli (R). Baird was leading with about 63 percent of the vote in unofficial returns.
In the legislative races for District 15, the Republican candidates appeared to be having an easy time. State Sen. Jim Honeyford ran unopposed, while State Rep. Bruce Chandler, another incumbent Republican, easily topped his challenger, Democrat Erwin Salvatori.
Dan Newhouse (R), a candidate for State Representative, took a huge lead over Michael Kepcha, a Washougal Democrat. Newhouse was running for the seat vacated by retiring State Rep. Barb Lisk (R).
According to the Klickitat County Auditor's Office, the turnout of registered voters was 48 percent, with an undetermined number of absentee ballots yet to come in.