County executive race close

By Dennis Box-The Courier-Herald

The Pierce County Executive race continues to tighten with Democrat Pat McCarthy holding a slim lead over Pierce County Councilman Shawn Bunney, R-Lake Tapps.

The race is being decided using the rank choice voting method, which voters approved as a Pierce County Charter amendment in the November 2006 general election.

The rank choice system is used when no candidate gains 50 percent of the vote. Voters rank the candidates in order when they cast their ballot. The candidate or candidates with the least votes are eliminated and the second choices listed on the ballots are factored into the calculations, called an algorithm. If the second choice on a ballot has been eliminated, the third choice is used or the fourth, depending on which candidate is eliminated.

The county used a software program for the algorithm.

The latest algorithm was run Friday with McCarthy, who is the Pierce County auditor, receiving 50.65 percent, 130,968 votes, to Bunney’s 49.35 percent, 127,584 votes.

Calvin Goings and Mike Lonergan were eliminated.

The algorithm completed Nov. 7 had McCarthy leading 52 percent to 48 percent for Bunney.

The margin reported Nov. 4 was McCarthy at 55 percent and Bunney 45.

The general elections results have Bunney leading the group with 35 percent, 102,439 votes with McCarthy second with 26 percent, 76,854 votes, Goings third at 23 percent and 67,620 votes, and Lonergan with 44,438 votes and 15 percent.

Because Bunney did not get 50 percent, the rank choice system was used to determine a winner.

The other county race using rank choice is the county assessor-treasurer.

As of Friday, Dale Washam leads Beverly Gelman 51 percent to 48 percent.

The auditor’s office is still counting ballots and the next algorithm will be run Nov. 21. The county canvassing board is scheduled to certify the election Nov. 25.

Reach Dennis Box at or 360-802-8209.

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