WALLA WALLA — Two City Council candidates took commanding leads Tuesday in the General Election vote count, while incumbent Jim Barrow held a 5 percentage point lead over his opponent.
Allen Pomraning, running for the Postion 3 seat, and Position 2 candidate Richard “Dick” Morgan both declared victory after ballots were counted Tuesday night.
Pomraning took 78 percent of the vote. His opponent, incumbent Councilman Conrado Cavazos Jr., received 21 percent.
A retired engineer with the Army Corps of Engineers, past president of the Walla Walla Swim Team and a member of the Walla Walla Community College Technology and Workforce Retraining Board, Pomraning attributed his win to “50 years of honest community leadership.”
“I am looking forward to working with the other six council members to address the issues we talked about, police, fire, ambulance, streets,” an elated Pomraning said at the county elections center, where he met with family and friends just before the polls closed.
The only one other candidate at the center was Morgan.
Like Pomraning, Morgan took enough of a lead to confidently declare his win, but not before his wife beat him to the punch.
“Your granddaddy got a new job,” Landa Morgan said to 6-year-old Kayla Morgan.
“I am looking forward to learning more about the city ... the issues are more complicated and more challenging than one might expect, said Morgan, a retired state Department of Corrections administrator. “And I think I am going to enjoy working on those.”
Though the race for Position 1 was considerably closer than the other two, Barrow will most likely keep his lead over challenger Paul Mobley.
Barrow took 52 percent and led by 153 votes in the Tuesday count over Mobley, who took 47 percent.
“As long as there are votes out there, at least for the moment, I will just declare I am glad to be on the right side of the line,” Barrow said. “I think it was clear that there was a substantial amount of people who were looking for a change in government, at least in the personalities if not necessarily the direction of the City Council. And I certainly will seek to be part of any positive changes that the new council seeks to take.”
Additional mail-in ballots are expected to arrive by the next official count on Friday, but those numbers are not expected to be enough to upset current results because nonpresidential elections in Walla Walla County usually have turnouts between 20-50 percent, according to election officials.