Challengers lead two Council races

Barbara Clark, Jerry Cummins, Chris Plucker and Mary Lou Jenkins hold leads in their races.

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A locked ballot drop box sits waiting for next year's races outside the Walla Walla County Elections Office on West Poplar Street. Wednesday, November 9, 2011

WALLA WALLA -- A pair of City Council incumbents are headed for defeat after Tuesday's election.

Many votes remain to be counted, but the first count shows Fred Mitchell and Dominick Elia trailing their challengers, Mitchell by a likely insurmountable margin.

Countywide, 11,102 ballots had been counted Tuesday and 2,085 remained, along with more expected to arrive in the mail today, election officials said. A second count will take place later this week.

The candidate with the biggest lead is Chris Plucker, a Pioneer Middle School teacher who said he had no qualms with cutting aviary funding to give more support to police.

Plucker, a Position 4 candidate, leads Mitchell, 3,143 to 1,794.

Mitchell, who started his City Council service in the late 1980s, is the longest serving incumbent.

Mayor Barbara Clark led Bradley J. Sandau, 3,066 to 1,942.

The closest race was for Position 7, with Mary Lou Jenkins leading Elia by 297 votes.

On Tuesday night, Jenkins, a program manager for Blue Mountain Action Council who is affiliated with numerous social service organizations, had 2,615 votes to Elia's 2,318.

The Position 4 race had similar results, with challenger Dick Swenson trailing incumbent Jerry Cummins by 312 votes.

On Tuesday night, Cummins led 2,623 to 2,311.

On Thursday afternoon, election officials expect to conduct a second count that will include the 2,085 unprocessed ballots and others received by mail this week. Results should be available around 4:30 p.m. that day.

Alfred Diaz can be reached at alfreddiaz@wwub.com or 526-8325.

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