Werling-Sandwith and Bevens take lead in the primary school board election, McKenna and Heller take second place lead | Update

The 2017 primary election for the San Juan Island School District’s director positions 1 and 2 has two candidates taking a strong lead.

Four candidates will make their way to the November election.

For position No. 1, Sarah Werling-Sandwith is leading with 47.98 percent of the votes.

“I am honored that you have placed your trust in me. I am wholeheartedly dedicated to continue moving forward, and it is my mission to support our students, our families, and our teachers,” said Werling-Sandwith. “I am confident I can bring a thoughtful approach to the process of decision making for our district, and with your continued support, I will work honestly and collectively to be a voice for our community.”

She was initially followed by Heather Christensen with 19.97 percent of the votes, but when the last ballots came in, Ruth McKenna took the lead for second place with 304 votes, just two more than the contending candidate.

“If I win and go on to the general election I would like to thank those who have supported me and hope for their continued support for the general election,” said Christensen.

McKenna also wanted to thank the community for support if she makes it to the next round of elections.

“I will work hard to build consensus to move forward with needed improvements in special education and a rigorous K-12 curriculum that exceeds state standards for all students,” she said.

For position No. 2, Barbara Bevens is leading with 53.3 percent of the votes, followed by TJ Heller with 34.8 percent.

“I would like to say thank you to all who voted and for putting your trust in me to do the best I can for our kids,” said Bevens. “I am honored.”

Heller could not be reached for a comment at this time.

Out of the 6,227 registered voters, 1,601 ballots came in for this election, which is 25.71 percent of voters. There will be a recount on Aug. 14, which is a normal procedure for the election’s office as ballots are still coming in that were mailed on Aug. 1.

Auditor Milene Henley estimates there may be 25 more votes to count before the election is certified on Tuesday, Aug. 15.

According to Camolyn Armstrong, elections supervisor, once all the votes are counted, if the difference between the two contests is 25 percent or less, a hand recount is required by state law. If the difference is between 25 and 50 percent, a machine recount is required.

As for whether or not McKenna and Christensen will have a recount is up to the final count.

“At this point, it’s too close to call,” said Armstrong.

Neil Curtis, Christensen, McKenna and Werling-Sandwith all put their hats into the ring for school board director 1, a non-partisan office position with a four-year term.

J. Alphonsine Haslet-Phillips, Bevens and Heller ran for director No. 2, also a non-partisan office with a four-year term.

For more information, visit results.vote.wa.gov/results/current/sanjuan.