• Check out all North Central Washington and state election results and stories: Election 2010
EPHRATA — With about 78 percent of votes tallied, it looks like incumbent Bob Bernd and come-from-behind candidate Dale Walker will fill the vacant spots on the Grant County PUD Commission.
A Moses Lake businessman, Bernd, 64, captured 8,643 votes through Tuesday over his opponent Ron Baker’s 7,199 votes for a nearly 10 percent victory margin for the four-year District B post.
About 4,000 ballots remain to be counted in Grant County, according to auditor’s estimates.
“It feels good,” Bernd said by phone Tuesday. “I ran on my record of the last four years, and the voters were evidently comfortable with that. I’m very appreciative. We had a very good team of people supporting us. I’m just very grateful to the voters for giving me this vote of confidence.”
Baker, a 69-year-old engineer and businessman from Moses Lake, didn’t immediately return phone messages for comment Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning.
Patti Paris edged opponent Dale Walker in the August primary for the six-year District 2 spot.
But Walker, 65, finished Tuesday’s tally about 3 points ahead of Paris, with a ballot count of 8,241 to 7,722.
“I’m tickled to be up by 500-some votes. I figured I’d be happy at 300,” Walker, a retired Moses Lake farmer and business owner, said Tuesday. “I do commend Patti. She ran a good campaign. I do appreciate that. We didn’t get nasty with each other. I’m sure the people appreciated that.
Of his come-from-behind lead, he added, “I made a point this time when I ran that I knew and understood the issues the people were concerned about and tried to address those issues.”
Paris, the 58-year-old chief financial officer at Columbia Colstor in Moses Lake, sounded hopeful, but resigned Tuesday.
“You never say never until it’s over. They’re saying it’s too close to call, although I know I’m on the downside of that,” she said.
“The truth of it is, I think he spent more time getting out into the outlying areas to connect with people. I’m still working, so I didn’t really have the time he did to travel. I did do doorbelling, but I didn’t do enough.”
Walker and Paris are vying for the commission seat vacated by Greg Hansen, who decided not to run for re-election.
The county’s next vote tally will be at 4:30 p.m. today.
Christine Pratt: 665-1173