WALLA WALLA - The gap between incumbent Port of Walla Walla Commissioner Mike Fredrickson and challenger Rich Monacelli grew slightly with the latest tally of votes, but may still be too close to call.
As of the most recent count Friday posted by the Walla Walla County Auditor's Office, Fredrickson led Monacelli by 18 votes.
Fredrickson garnered 831 votes, or 30.28 percent, to Monacelli's 813 votes, or 29.63 percent. A third candidate, Barlow Corkrum, continued to lead with 1,100 votes, or 40.09 percent. He will automatically advance to the general election in November.
But who he will face is not yet clear.
The Elections Office has 100 remaining ballots that weren't counted for a variety of reasons, including signatures that need checking or other marks that require further investigation. That office is planning its next count Aug. 30.
According to the state election recount threshold, a recount automatically takes place for a local office when two candidates are separated by less than 2,000 votes and 0.5 percent of the total votes cast. In this case, the difference is 1.09 percent, which would not result in an automatic recount, said Brian Zylstra, deputy communications director for the Secretary of State's Office.
Auditor Karen Martin was not immediately available Friday to say how the process will move forward.
Zylstra said a recount may be requested by any candidate. The request must be made in writing within two business days after certification of the primary, regardless of the vote difference.
The recount would be carried out at that candidate's expense unless it changed the outcome of the race. A deposit must be made when requesting a recount. For a machine recount the deposit is 15 cents per ballot, and for a manual recount the deposit is 25 cents per ballot, Zylstra said.
If the recount changes the outcome of the race, the deposit will be refunded. If the outcome remains the same, the cost of the recount is the responsibility of those making the request.
The candidates are vying for a six-year term on the economic development commission. District 2 serves the eastern third of the city of Walla Walla, plus Dixie, Waitsburg and Prescott.