I haven’t received the email from the Elections Department yet, but the Columbian is now saying the recount shows 17th Legislative District Senator Don Benton retains his seat by 74 votes. Tim Probst and the Democrats have lost, in spite of running one of the most expensive and sleazy campaigns I can recall in their effort to unseat Don.
Senator Benton issued the following Press Release earlier this afternoon;
For Immediate Release For Interviews Contact:
Dec. 5, 2012 Sen. Don Benton (360) 786-7632
Benton secures fifth Senate term, excited to continue as voice for taxpayers
OLYMPIA…Sen. Don Benton is headed to a fifth term in the Washington State Senate.
Clark County today completed its recount of ballots cast in last month’s 17th District Senate election, and the numbers confirm Benton’s victory. Although the Vancouver Republican had been expecting to prevail since shortly after the election, he said the result of the final tally was welcome news.
“It is terrific to finally be certain that I will have the privilege of serving the people of the 17th Legislative District for another four years,” Benton said.
“Today’s outcome also confirms Republicans will gain a seat in the Senate come January, for a total of 23, while the Democrats will fall to 26 seats,” Benton noted. “That leaves the door wide open to the possibility that when the 2013 legislative session begins, the Senate may again find itself led by a bipartisan group – a ‘coalition majority’ that will take a more conservative approach to the way tax dollars are spent.”
Late in the 2012 legislative session Benton helped lead a successful effort to bring a more conservative state operating budget before the full Senate; it was adopted by a philosophical majority comprising every Republican senator – 22 at the time – and three Democratic senators. “I have stayed in regular communication with my Democrat colleagues since they joined our efforts earlier this year and am encouraged by the prospect of working more with them in the upcoming session,” said Benton.
“An overwhelming number of the people of our state voted this past month to continue requiring a two-thirds majority vote in the Legislature to raise taxes. Clearly they want their lawmakers to live with the tax dollars they already send to Olympia,” Benton said. “It’s exciting to know I will have the honor of returning to the Capitol to continue as a voice for the taxpayers and play a key role in carrying out their wishes.”
Members of the Senate Republican Caucus, confident Benton would be returning for another term, last week chose him to serve as their deputy leader. That new post will have him assisting the new Senate Republican leader, Sen. Mark Schoesler of Ritzville, when it comes to legislative goals, policies, issues and priorities. Benton also will act as Republican leader in Schoesler’s absence.
Benton, elected to the state House of Representatives in 1994, will be sworn in for his next Senate term when the Legislature convenes Monday, Jan. 14.
A recount now begins for the open seat Probst left behind between Democrat Teachers Union Rep Monica Stonier and Republican Ridgefield School District Chair Julie Olson that will likely see Stonier retain her lead and finally fulfill her years long quest to get into the legislature and represent the Teachers Union.
While there is basically no change in the representation of the 17th District, Two Republicans and one Democrat, Benton’s victory gives all indication of Olympia finally seeing less one party rule since two moderate Democrats, Rodney Tom and Tim Sheldon have both indicated a willingness to step away from the hard line Democrats and work more with Republicans towards a “power-sharing” arrangement.
As much as it is opposed by megalomaniac Democrat Jim Moeller, maybe now we will finally see some much needed changes coming in our budgeting and state matters.
As of the time of this posting, I have not found or seen comment from Probst in the form of a concession.
Tim Probst has issued his concession, copied below.
Congratulations to Senator Don Benton for your 5th victory for the citizens in the 17th District and for the courage to stand strong against the onslaught of Democrats barrage of untruths and sleaze.
Tim Probst Concession;
With the recount reaching completion, it’s evident that I’ve lost the election by about 74 votes. There are a handful of ballots going to the canvassing board next week for review, but they will not change the final outcome.
I thank the voters for the privilege of serving you as your State Representative. I made my motto, “Do the right thing, and let the chips fall where they may,” and I’ve lived by that. Going forward, I hope to find a way to continue doing what I’ve done throughout my career, in both elected and non-elected roles: build economic recovery, expand the middle class, reduce poverty, and make Washington the best-educated place in the world.
I congratulate Senator Benton on his victory, and wish him the best during the next four years. Most of all, I encourage all of our elected officials and our citizens to unify around what is best for the state and the nation, and avoid dividing into splinter groups focused on their own self-interest. Life is about serving one another and moving our nation forward as whole. Our citizens live their lives that way, and government should follow their good example.
I’m very proud of my volunteers and supporters, and the incredible race we ran against the odds. Thank you! This one election is lost, but our work to build a better future will continue.
Clark County Democrats added under their posting of Probst’s concession:
“AND we thank you, Tim, for being such a good Representative, and for putting yourself out there in an attempt to take down the reprehensible Don Benton. It was very, very close.”
Classy Democrats, real classy.
UPDATE Dec 7, 2012: As expected, Monica Stonier has prevailed in her race with Julie Olson by 140 votes.