Adams County voters reject sales tax rise

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RITZVILLE — Adams County voters appear to be saying “yes” to a countywide sale tax increase to fund law enforcement.

According to preliminary election results, Adams County Proposition 1, which is set to impose three-tenths of a percent sales tax countywide to help fund law enforcement and the courts, is ahead with 51.6 percent approval — or 1,508 “yes” votes — compared with a “no” vote of 48.4 percent, or 1,415.

The new tax an estimated $500,000 to $750,000 per year countywide, according to officials with the Adams County Auditor, which oversees county elections.

The sales tax hike only needs 50 percent approval, the Auditor’s office added.

In the race for Adams County Commission’s third district, Terry Thompson is maintaining a solid lead with 58.3 percent, or 1,586 votes, over his challenger Mike Garza, who currently has 41.7 percent, or 1,136 votes.

In the Adams County Treasurervrace, Kayla Meise is maintaining a lead of 61.5 percent, or 1,609 votes, over her opponent Janet Manke with 38.5 percent, or 1,007 votes.

Incumbent Grant County PUD commissioner Terry Brewer is trialing in his bid for reelection against challenger Judy Wilson. Wilson had 9,946 votes to 8,221 for Brewer. Nelson Cox was leading Patti Paris in the race for the open seat on the PUD commission. Cox has 9,358 votes to 8,845 for Paris.

Races for PUD commissioner normally are low-key affairs, without much competition, attention, or money. The 2018 race was different - candidates spent more than $218,000. That was three-quarters of the money spent statewide on PUD races. Brewer spent $18,812 as of Nov. 2, an amount dwarfed by Wilson, who spent $47,107. Cox and Paris competed for an open seat; incumbent Bob Bernd retired. Cox had spent the most of the four, $56,757, going into the final weekend. Paris had spent $29,460.

Fourth Congressional District rep. Dan Newhouse, R-Yakima, will be retaining his seat after handily defeating his Democratic Party challenger Christine Brown

Newhouse, who will now be entering his third-term in the U.S. House of Representatives, took 65,709 votes (65.67 percent) in a district that covers Adams, Benton, Douglas, Franklin, Grant, Okanogan and Yakima Counties. Brown, a former reporter and television news anchor from retired from TV news with 30 years of experience, took 34,358 votes (34.33 percent). In Adams County Newhouse took 75.2 percent of the vote, while Brown received 24.8 percent.

Newhouse, a former director of the Washington Department of Agriculture and former Washington House Member, ran for the vacant Fourth District seat after former longtime Rep. Doc Hastings retired in 2014.

The Adams County Auditor’s office will continue counting ballots and is scheduled to post the next results tonight at 3 p.m. today. Final election results will be certified on Tuesday, Nov. 27.

NOTE: This story was corrected from the printed and earlier online edition, which stated that Proposition 1 needed 60 percent voter approval, rather than a simple majority. The Sun Tribune regrets the error.

Charles H. Featherstone can be reached via email at

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