Yakima City Council candidate Eliana Macias, who was 20 percentage points behind Kenton Gartrell on election night, has closed within a single point as of Friday’s updated count and now trails by four votes.
As of Friday, the count stood at 307 votes for Gartrell and 303 for Macias, or 50.3% to 49.7% in the District 1 race.
Preliminary results on election night showed Gartrell ahead by 71 votes, 213 to 142, or 60% to 40%. Gartrell said he knew all along it would be much closer in the end.
“I did think it would come down to 10 votes,” he said.
While he said it was worrisome, “of course, I’ve always been worried,” he said. “Even when everyone wanted to do interviews after the first counting, I said they’re still going to be counting.”
Macias didn’t immediately return calls from the Yakima Herald-Republic late Friday afternoon.
If she is elected, she would be the Council’s sole Latina. If she loses, the council would be without Latino representation for the first time since 2015, when a federal Voting Rights Act lawsuit forced the city to change its elections to better represent the city’s Latino population. Prior to that, the Council had no Latino council members.
The Gartrell-Macias race has been contentious, with Gartrell making headlines for knocking a phone out of a Macias supporter’s hand at a downtown bar on the night of the August primary as she shot video of him. No charges were filed in the incident.
Nearly 31,000 of the estimated 39,993 votes cast in Yakima County had been counted as of Friday. It’s not clear how many of the remaining 9,000 ballots to be counted are from Yakima’s City Council District 1.
Gartrell said either way, the contest has sparked voter participation.
“We’ve definitely attracted a lot of votes, which is a good thing,” he said.
Because of Veterans Day on Monday, counting will not resume until Tuesday. The election will be certified Nov. 26.
The District 1 seat was held by Dulce Gutierrez, who decided not to seek reelection.