By Natalie Johnson / firstname.lastname@example.org
Carla Shannon is leading Scott Tinney in the Lewis County clerk race by less than 1 percent after the Lewis County Auditor’s Office released updated vote counts Wednesday afternoon.
Her lead narrowed from 51 percent the night of the election to 49.78 percent Wednesday — compared to Tinney’s 49.24 percent. That’s a difference of 74 votes. The next count will be released this afternoon. The election won’t be certified until Nov. 28. Across the county, there are an estimated 1,300 votes left to count. Turnout was estimated at 33.4 percent.
“I’m very excited,” Shannon said Tuesday, noting that she is feeling cautiously optimistic given how close she and her opponent’s vote counts are.
“We worked really hard, feel really good about our campaign and what we put out there,” she said.
Shannon had 6,711 votes as of Wednesday, with Tinney at 6,637.
Tinney said he felt discouraged Tuesday night but was much more hopeful after the new vote count was released Wednesday.
“They’ve got about as many votes to count tomorrow, so if the trend continues that would be good for me,” Tinney said. “I’m pleasantly surprised to see that much of a swing in the late votes.”
Tinney narrowly led in the primary with 37.89 percent of the vote to Shannon’s 36.05. A third candidate, Linda Williams, took 26.6 percent of the primary vote.
Shannon has worked in the clerk’s office as a deputy clerk for more than five years. She previously worked at the Centralia Police Department managing community policing programs and before that was a commissioned deputy with the King County Sheriff’s Office.
Tinney has served as Lewis County clerk since he was appointed to the position by the Lewis County Board of Commissioners in November 2016 after former clerk Kathy Brack retired before the end of her term.
Tinney is a long-time Lewis County resident but has spent much of his career working in Thurston County. He worked in the clerk’s office there for 24 years.
All of the current Lewis County Clerk’s Office employees, barring Shannon, have endorsed Tinney on several occasions.
“It is crucial he is elected,” the clerk’s office employees wrote in a letter published last month in The Chronicle. “Please remember, we work the closest with both candidates and have seen both in action. There is no question Scott Tinney is the right choice for this position.”
A committee of Lewis County Republicans picked Shannon as their top choice to replace retiring clerk Brack last year; however, Tinney was the committee’s third choice, and was ultimately appointed to the position by the county commission.
Brack has endorsed Shannon for the clerk position, as have Lewis County Sheriff Rob Snaza, Prosecutor Jonathan Meyer and other elected officials and area attorneys.
“I know Carla will bring the necessary competence to the position, keeping our criminal justice and court system running efficiently for the greater good of the citizens of Lewis County,” Snaza wrote in a letter published last month in The Chronicle.
The Lewis County clerk keeps records for all Superior Court cases in Lewis County, takes payments, provides and files court forms and administers jury duty lists among other tasks.
“The position of County Clerk is best characterized as the administrative and financial officer of the Superior Court,” according to the clerk’s office.