JUST IN: New Election Numbers Still Leave Two Spokane Valley - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

JUST IN: New Election Numbers Still Leave Two Spokane Valley City Council Races Undecided

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New election results just released from the Spokane County Election's Office have left two very tight Spokane Valley city council races still hanging in the balance.

Ed Pace and incumbent Deputy Mayor Gary Schimmels had been separated by just three votes; however new numbers show Pace with 50% (7,120 votes) and Schimmels with 49% (6,938 votes) for position 4.

Incumbent Rod Higgins and Linda Thomson are battling for position 1, but their race also remains too close to call. New numbers have Higgins with 51% (7,228 votes) and Thompson with 48% (6,769 voters).

The next round of election results should be released Thursday night at 6:00 p.m. with all ballots counted by Friday.

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Election night may be over, but some local races are still very much in the air. Four Spokane Valley city council seats were up for grabs this year, but only two have been decided; the other two are literally neck and neck.

We know newcomer Bill Bates won his bid for position 7 with 67% of the vote to Fred Beaulac's 33%. Bates told KHQ he's excited to get started on the council and his first priority will be to focus on public safety with the goal of hiring more county deputies.

We also know incumbent Chuck Hafner retains his seat for position 5 with 65% of the vote to challenger Don Morgan Jr.'s 35%. Hafner was not immediately available for comment.

However, the remaining candidates will have to wait until update results are released from the Spokane County Election's Office to learn which way the numbers are leaning. New numbers are expected in just before 6:00 p.m. Wednesday.

Until then, Ed Pace and Gary Schimmels are separated by a mere 3 votes out of 11,583 ballots cast for position 4, while incumbent Rod Higgins and Linda Thompson are fighting for position 1 with 51% to 49% respectively.

"If it does go my way, the first thing that comes to mind is that it barely would have gone my way, the voter turnout was really low, and that says people either flat out don't care or they're satisfied with how things are going," Ed Pace told KHQ's Kelsey Watts. "The fact Gary [Schimmels] and I were so close is another indicator people like how things are going, so I have to make sure my first priority is to learn and get in tune with the city council."

If elected, Pace said he would also work to diversify the council in future elections. Gary Schimmels was not immediately reached for comment.

"Whichever way it turns out is the will of the people," Rod Higgins told KHQ's Kelsey Watts. "I would like to think that I've done a reasonably good job in the time I've been on the council and that would have spoke for something but the low turnout says that maybe people are satisfied with the way things are going so they don't particularly care."

Higgins said if he is re-elected he will continue to focus on keeping taxes within reason, maintaining a balanced budget and keeping reserves at 50% or better of operating revenues. Linda Thompson was not immediately reached for comment.

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