By Dee Camp
OKANOGAN - Republican Sheilah Kennedy is the apparent winner for county commissioner over Democrat Albert Roberts, while challenger Steve Houston is leading incumbent Trish Butler for a seat on the Okanogan County Public Utility District commission.
The Okanogan County Auditor's Office counted ballots in the all-mail Nov. 6 election at 8 p.m., when polls officially closed. The next count will be Friday, Nov. 9.
In unofficial, election night returns, Kennedy garnered 5,085 votes, or 59.5 percent, to Roberts' 3,453 votes, or 40.4 percent. There were 8 write-in ballots cast.
Both are seeking the District No. 1 position being vacated by Andy Lampe, who lost in the primary.
Utility district results saw Houston poll 4,394 votes, 57.88 percent, to Butler's 3,145 votes, 41.43 percent, for the non-partisan position.
In the other county commission race, incumbent Don R. "Bud" Hover is trailing challenger and fellow Republican Ray L. Campbell in election night returns.
In the District No. 2 race, Campbell received 3,984 votes, 50.09 percent, to Hover's 3,892 votes, or 48.93 percent. Fewer than 100 votes separate the two, out of more than 7,900 counted in the race on election night.
In the county's other contested race, incumbent District Court Judge Heidi E. Smith received 4,812 votes, 63.99 percent, to challenger Scot D. Stuart's 2,667 votes, or 35.73 percent.
County residents bucked the statewide trend and gave Republican Mitt Romney the nod for president, with 5,134 votes to Democratic President Barack Obama's 3,738 votes. Romney garnered 55.94 percent of the county vote, compared to 42.49 percent statewide in early returns.
For governor, Okanogan County residents picked Republican Rob McKenna, giving him 5,471 election night votes, or 60.25 percent, to Democrat Jay Inslee's 3,583 votes, or 39.46 percent.
Statewide, Inslee was leading with 51.68 percent of the vote to McKenna's 48.32 percent.
On Referendum 74, which would allow same-sex marriage, county voters said no, with 5,560 votes, or 62.03 percent. The yes column showed 3,416 votes, or 37.97 percent.
Statewide, 52.39 percent of voters said yes.
Initiative 502, which would make marijuana possession legal, 4,652 county residents said yes in the election night tally, compared to 4,367 saying no. That's a 51.58 percent approval rate.
Statewide, 55.96 percent of voters said yes in early election night returns.
Initiative 1240, which would allow creation of charter schools, was close on election night, with 50.83 percent of voters statewide saying yes. In the county, 52.09 percent of voters said no.
Former Okanogan County resident and incumbent Peter Goldmark, a Democrat, is leading statewide in the race for commissioner of public lands, but losing in the county.
As of election night, he had 58.19 percent of the statewide vote, compared to Republican challenger Clint Didier's 41.81 percent.
In the county, Goldmark garnered 44.16 percent to Didier's 55.75 percent. There were 8 write-in ballots cast.
As of the election night count, turnout was 43.36 percent in Okanogan County.