McCleary Mayor Brent Schiller likely has earned himself four years at the helm, leading challenger Jared Berken by more than double the votes in preliminary counts.
On election night (Nov. 7) Schiller earned 124 votes, or more than 65.5 percent, while Berken earned only 65 votes, more than 34 percent.
As of a second count on Nov. 9, Schiller had extended his lead to more than 66 percent. Schiller currently has 209 votes to Berken’s 104.
During the primary election, Berken had been tied with former mayor Gary Dent but eventually overtook him as additional ballots were counted before the election was certified. It seems unlikely that Berken will pull ahead this time around.
Schiller was appointed as mayor in 2015 after Dent’s abrupt resignation.
Berken, a police officer for a law enforcement agency in Grays Harbor County, saw his eligibility to hold office called into question after he had filed. Neither his candidacy nor the primary election results were officially challenged and Berken continued on into the general election.
Several McCleary city council races were on the general election ballots. Of the candidates vying for positions, only Ben Blankenship was an incumbent. All other council members with expiring terms did not file for re-election.
Blankenship is defeating challenger John Dunning. Blankenship has 202 votes (more than 71 percent) and Dunning has only 82 votes.
Gary Atkins is losing to Brycen Huff. Huff has 198 votes (more than 67 percent) and Atkins has 97 votes.
Jaron Heller is defeating Eric J. Hart. Heller has more than 63 percent (with 175 votes) compared to Hart’s 36.8 percent (102).
Joy Iversen was uncontested and received 257 votes.
Another ballot count is scheduled for Nov. 14. The Vidette went to press before that ballot count. The election will be certified on Nov. 28.
Voters have approved a levy lid lift for the City of McCleary to replace aged fire department equipment.
The levy is winning approval with 202 votes in favor and 140 opposed. That’s more than 59 percent in favor. The levy lid lift needed only a simple majority (50 percent plus one vote) to win approval.