Ocean Shores race to be decided in manual recount

Race for mayor of coastal city is only one in county left undecided.

The Ocean Shores mayoral race will come down to a manual recount after the final ballot tally Tuesday (Nov. 26) has incumbent Crystal Dingler leading City Councilwoman Susan Conniry by 3 votes.

A manual recount is required if the final vote is within one-quarter of one percent. Dingler’s lead after Tuesday’s final machine count is 1,607 votes (49.63 percent) to Conniry’s 1,604 (49.54%). Turnout for the the race was 62.38 percent.

The County Canvassing Board certified the election results Tuesday afternoon. Grays Harbor Auditor Joe MacLean said the Ocean Shores mayoral race is the only one left undecided. He said his staff would begin sorting out Ocean Shores ballots Monday morning and that the hand recount would be held next Tuesday morning.

“I’m delighted that the race is still this close. I feel confident,” Dingler said. “We ran a really good race. We had wonderful people working for our group and it was terrific.

“I just want to thank everybody who voted. It was a really tight race. We’ll know next week.”

Conniry could not be reached for comment Tuesday afternoon.

On Election Day, Conniry led by 30 votes, Dingler pulled ahead by 17 votes in the second count and then her lead narrowed to four votes in the third count.

Also in Ocean Shores, in the Position 4 council race, incumbent Jon Martin survived the challenge by Lorraine Hardin. Martin finished with a 53-vote lead. He got 1,422 votes (50.57%) to Hardin’s 1,369 (48.68%), a close race, but not enough to trigger an automatic machine recount, which happens when the margin is within one-half of one percent.

In other close contests, Nathan Kennedy won the Aberdeen City Council Ward 2 Position 3 race, taking 191 votes to David Gakin’s 180. For the seat held by Kathi Prieto, Gakin held a 6-vote advantage over Kennedy after the first count on election night.

Cosmopolis will get a new municipal building after gaining 60.12 percent of the votes received, barely ahead of the 60 percent plus one vote total needed. Of ballots received, 382 voted for the bond measure to fund the building; 253 voters rejected the effort. More than 59 percent of registered voters returned ballots for this race. Bond measures are not subject to automatic recount rules, MacLean said.

In a tight Grays Harbor Hospital District 2 board race, challenger Scott Dilley of Montesano held on to a slim lead to defeat incumbent Melanie Sturgeon by a vote of 6,507 to 6,352.

“I’m thrilled by the results. I’m absolutely humbled by the confidence people have placed in me,” Dilley said Tuesday afternoon. “I look forward to working with the board to make the hospital better. I look forward to getting to work on those issues that chart a new course for the hospital and put it on a sustainable course for the future.”

Sturgeon could not be reached for comment before this story was published Tuesday.

The race for Oakville City Council Position 4 race was tied heading into the final count. Julie Zehe and Allen Werth both had 60 points. For the final count, Zehe got two more votes to give her the seat.

Dan Hammock contributed to this report.