It is hard to use the word “surprise” in regard to any election in Kittitas County. Unlike our big city neighbors we are not polled or surveyed leading up to election day. How voters feel about a candidate is not truly revealed until the votes are counted.

That said, with a couple of exceptions, Tuesday night’s results are what most people expected.

The main exceptions are on the Kittitas County Hospital District 1 (KVH) Board of Commissioners. Long-time incumbent Liahna Armstrong and Roy Savoian, who was appointed to his position, both trail after Tuesday night’s vote count.

Armstrong trails Terry Clark, a long-time pharmacist in the community (including time at KVH). Savoian trails Jon Ward, who actually previously served for a time on the board as an appointed member. In other words, the challengers had community and KVH connections a well.

Those races featured a collection of qualified people — some had different qualifications than others.

The last couple of election cycles for the KVH board have featured turnover so maybe the results should not be considered a surprise.

Two well qualified people also sought the Kittitas County Commissioner 1 seat with Cory Wright, who was appointed to the position last year well ahead of challenger Nancy Lillquist, a long-time Ellensburg City Council member.

Wright is a Republican and Lillquist is a Democrat. There currently is one Democrat in a countywide elected office (Auditor Jerry Pettit) so there are challenges on that side.That said, the county commissioner position is far more pragmatic than political and Wright has expressed ideas about moving the county forward making use of talent and assets in both the public and private sector.

One quirk of this commissioner election is it was to fulfill the one year left in what was Paul Jewell’s term. This seat will be back on the 2020 ballot.

The race this year that proves that every vote counts in Kittitas County elections is the race for Roslyn mayor where as of Tuesday night, challenger Doug Johnson led incumbent Brent Hals by one vote, 87-86. Obviously, as more ballots are counted that lead could change multiple times before the final ballot is counted. At this margin, it would also qualify for a recount.

Over the years, this county has had many races determined by fewer than a handful of votes. If you want to live in a place where your vote can and does make a difference, Kittitas County is the place to be.

To all who sought office this election, cycle, thank you for your commitment to the democratic process. And best of luck to all those who will take office.

To voters, take a quick breath, the 2020 election season is already underway.


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