While the few local contested Thurston County races have been less than nail-biting as vote tallies have slowly trickled in, the race for Commissioner District 2 has proved more dramatic.
With a large majority of votes counted, incumbent Commissioner Gary Edwards, who trailed by nearly 5 percentage points upon the first round of counting, now leads by nearly 2 percent. Edwards leads challenger Michael Steadman by 2,576 votes.
With the current turnout of all counted ballots hitting 83.49 percent, a slim margin of the total count still remains. Official election results will be certified on Tuesday.
In a post on his official campaign Facebook page on Thursday, Steadman recognized Edwards as winning the race, calling the Independent incumbent a “class act.”
“Your earned your next four years but I will continue to make you, as well as the whole Board of Commissioners better for the sake of all County residents. Again, we pulled out all the stops and fought the good fight to the bitter end bit it just wasn’t meant to be,” Steadman wrote.
Edwards has served one term as commissioner, and previously served 20 years as Thurston County Sheriff.
Steadman's campaign has focused on “less partisan politics and more common sense to address the complex issues facing our community, businesses and family,” according to his post, adding, “I want to continue progress towards reducing regulatory roadblocks for small businesses and home builders and improved access to county services for the public.”