Election: Balance of Spokane, Spokane Valley councils could shift, plus other results

After yesterday's election and more tallying that was completed today, Spokane County reports that there are about 29,000 ballots left to be counted out of a total of 96,588.

Keep an eye on inlander.com for more election coverage in coming days, but here's where things stand in several well-watched races.

District 1

Former pastor and current general contractor Jonathan Bingle beat Naghmana Sherazi in the race to represent northeast Spokane, taking about 57 percent of the vote as of Wednesday.

Sherazi is a former Gonzaga communications staffer and former scientist.

Bingle will add another conservative vote to the council, which has had a 6-1 progressive majority for several years.

District 2
Betsy Wilkerson ran unopposed and was reelected by voters in her district, which covers downtown and the southern portion of the city. Wilkerson runs a house for people with disabilities and is on the board of the Innovia Foundation.

District 3
Progressive school teacher Zack Zappone appeared likely to beat conservative Mike Lish, the owner of D. Lish's, in the race to represent northwest Spokane.

Zappone had about 51 percent of the vote, with 453 more votes than Lish, according to Wednesday's tally. 

Position 1

It appears likely that Spokane Public Schools employee James "JJ" Johnson will beat incumbent Rod Higgins, who has served on the council since 2012.

Johnson previously served on the Spokane Valley Planning Commission and describes himself as a moderate. He got about 51 percent of the vote and led Higgins by 425 votes as of Wednesday.

Higgins, a former mining executive, has been a vocal conservative during his time on council.

Position 4
Ben Wick, currently the council-selected mayor, took 66 percent of the vote in his race, easily maintaining his seat and beating Black Diamond co-owner Brandon Fenton.

Position 5
Wayne Fenton, also co-owner of the Black Diamond, was similarly unsuccessful in his bid for council as incumbent Pamela Haley won 67 percent of the vote.

Haley, a longtime daycare owner, maintained her seat on council, where she has served for six years.

Position 7
Laura Padden appears to have ushered out incumbent Linda Thompson, with Padden taking about 51 percent of the vote and 565 votes more than Thompson so far.

Thompson, who often votes with other center-leaning council members, works as executive director of the Greater Spokane Substance Abuse Council.

Padden works in web and app development for the Community Colleges of Spokane, and is married to Republican state Sen. Mike Padden. She ran, in part, on a platform of "no new taxes!"

Jim Hammond (5,627 votes) beat Joe Alfieri (4,975 votes) and Michael Lentz (593 votes) to become Coeur d'Alene mayor.

Hammond is the former mayor of Post Falls, previously worked as Coeur d'Alene's city administrator, and was a state senator.

Alfieri, meanwhile, is a former businessman who opened New York City's first retail computer store and later worked in advertising and graphic design, moving to Idaho from California in 2013. Lentz ran saying he wanted to "tax the s—- out of Californians so growth pays for itself" and supporting local businesses over major corporations. 

Central Valley
Pam Orebaugh, a Washington State University nurse educator who ran in part due to her concerns about critical race theory, appeared likely to win the race that had the most write-in votes this election.

Orebaugh's printed opponent, Rob Linebarger, dropped out to support her efforts. It won't immediately be clear how many of the write-in votes were for unlisted opponent Stan Chalich, who taught in Central Valley for 49 years. But there were 6,180 write-in votes, while Orebaugh had 7,471. (Linebarger got 4,069 votes).

The two conservative-leaning candidates for Spokane school board, both of whom raised concerns about critical race theory in schools, appear to have been defeated.

Riley Smith beat Kata Dean with almost 54 percent of the vote. Melissa Bedford beat Daryl Geffken with almost 57 percent of the vote.

Post Falls
Building maintenance engineer Jake Dawson beat alt-right troll and former radio host David Reilly for a spot on the school board.

Dawson, who opposes mask and COVID-19 vaccine mandates for schools, won 53 percent of the vote. Both candidates ran saying they opposed teaching critical race theory in schools.

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About The Author

Samantha Wohlfeil

Samantha Wohlfeil covers the environment, rural communities and cultural issues for the Inlander. Since joining the paper in 2017, she's reported how the weeks after getting out of prison can be deadly, how some terminally ill Eastern Washington patients have struggled to access lethal medication, and other sensitive...