Votes reveal political map
Pockets of left, right viewpoints dot county
November 28, 2012
A voting district southeast of the Spokane Valley city limits can bask in the bright red glow of being the county’s most conservative Republican precinct.
Part of Browne’s Addition, just west of downtown Spokane, can claim bragging rights as the county’s most liberal Democratic precinct.
When Spokane County elections officials finalized the results of the Nov. 6 election Tuesday, there were no big surprises. Republicans Mitt Romney, Rob McKenna and Mike Baumgartner won the county even though Barack Obama captured the state and the presidency and Jay Inslee the governor’s office. Maria Cantwell was re-elected to the U.S. Senate. County voters overall turned thumbs down to a ballot measure on same-sex marriage although it passed statewide; like the state as a whole, they approved supermajorities for passing taxes and charter schools.
No candidates came from behind in the late ballot counts to overtake an opponent; no ballot measure trailing on election night eked out a victory and none that was ahead slipped into defeat.
The most unusual thing, possibly, was that nothing was so close it required a recount. That hasn’t happened in Spokane County since 2006, Auditor Vicky Dalton said.
Clark County officials aren’t so lucky. They could have two recounts in legislative races, including the 17th District Senate race that has incumbent Republican Don Benton ahead of Democratic State Rep. Tim Probst by 78 votes, and could affect control of the Senate.
In the final precinct breakdowns for Spokane County, some voting patterns were clear.
A precinct in suburban Spokane Valley, 4026, gave some Republicans some of their biggest margins: 429 votes more for Romney, 488 more for McKenna, 378 for Baumgartner and 534 more for Republican Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, who coasted to victory over Democratic challenger Rich Cowan. Precinct 4026, which extends from the Valley city limits to the ridge overlooking Liberty Lake, is bounded on the south by 32nd Avenue and Saltese Lake Road and on a line extending east from 16th Avenue. Voters there were the most likely to vote no on legalizing marijuana for recreational use. They also voted by more than 2-to-1 to require supermajorities in the Legislature to approve taxes, although the heaviest vote margin in favor of that measure was in the precinct just to the west, 4025.
A precinct in the Spokane city core, 3200, was the best bet for Democrats: 450 votes more for Obama, 369 more for Inslee, 479 more for Cantwell and 324 more for Cowan. Precinct 3200, which includes parts of Browne’s Addition and Peaceful Valley, is small but densely populated, wedged between Interstate 90 and the Spokane River, west of Elm Street and east of Latah Creek. Voters there were the most likely to vote yes for same-sex marriage and legalized marijuana. They did give a slight edge to supermajority on taxes, but only two of the county’s 314 precincts said no to that initiative.
Spokane County turnout was 80.5 percent, just a hair under the state average of 81.1 percent.