General election 2023: Local City Council elections remain close after Tuesday returns


According to Thurston County’s early general election returns, Tuesday, Nov. 7, most contested Nisqually Valley races, including all of Yelm City Council seats up for election, are too close to call, with final results to be determined in the coming days. According to Thurston County’s opening night numbers, voter turnout was at a low 20.91%, with 41,138 ballots cast out of 196,717 registered voters. 

Yelm City Council 

As of 8 p.m. Tuesday, only 5 votes separated the two Position No. 1 candidates, with Stephanie Kangiser leading Tracey Wood 293 votes to 288, respectively. Position No. 1 is currently filled by Councilor Amanda Johnstone, who was appointed to the seat in 2023 to fill the vacant position. Wood was previously on the City Council as recently as 2022.

The position No. 2 race between challenger Jerry Toompas and incumbent Joseph Dale Richardson was almost as close, with 14 votes separating the two candidates. As of Tuesday night, Richardson led with 294 votes to Toompas’ 280. 

The position No. 6 race was the closest of them all, with incumbent Ashley Lea Brooks leading challenger Trevor Palmer, 290-287, respectively. Brooks was appointed to fill the position in 2022. 

Rainier City Council

In the only contested Rainier City Council race where community members Ryan Roth and Damion Green are vying to fill George Johnson’s seat, Roth is leading his opponent, 148-114 respectively. 

Yelm school board

The Yelm Community Schools board director races were not as close, however. In the open District No. 2 race, Casey Shaw led Eric Heid, 1,860-1,345, respectively, with the total number of votes including both Thurston and Pierce counties.

In the other two races, the incumbents were leading over their challengers after election night.  In the District 3 race, Denise Hendrickson was leading Allyn Verbal 1,989 votes-1,302, respectively. For District 5, board President Bill Hauss had 1,914 votes on opening night to Karen (Kay) Anderson’s 1,386.

Rainier school board

In Rainier, all three incumbents, Amanda Siemandel, Jerry F. Sprouffske and Dana Spivey were leading in the Districts 1, 2 and 3 races, respectively. After opening night, Siemandel picked up 427 votes to challenger Aaron Lang’s 296. Sprouffske led challenger Jon Palmer with 420-326 votes, respectively. Longtime board member Spivey had the most commanding lead with 542 votes to challenger Brian Hackethal’s 205.

Thurston County Commission

At the county level, in the newly created District 4 and District 5 positions, Vivian Eason and Emily Clouse were leading their respective opponents, Wayne Fournier and Terry S. Ballard. After early returns, Eason garnered 19,905 votes to Fournier’s 19,078 for the District 4 commissioner race, while Emily Clouse opened with 23,095 votes to Ballard’s 16,065.

Port of Olympia Commission

Similar to the Thurston County Commission, the Port of Olympia Commission is expanding from three to five members this year. In the District 1 race, challenger Jasmine Vasavada led with a narrow margin over incumbent Bill McGregor, 19,240-19,018 votes, respectively. In the two open races for districts 4 and 5, Maggie Sanders maintained a slight lead over Rose Chiu Gundersen, 19,056-18,782 votes respectively, and Sarah Tonge led Troy Kirby, 19,516-18,190 votes. 

Thurston County Proposition No. 1

For voters concerned about sheriff’s office funding, Proposition No. 1 is passing after Tuesday’s general election early returns, 22,312-16,250. If approved, the proposition would authorize an additional sale and use tax at a rate of two-tenths of 1% to be used for up to 75% in law enforcement protection, including hiring additional sheriff deputies and associated infrastructure, and 25% for additional prosecution and proportionate public defense services, and elections security infrastructure. Of the amount collected, Thurston County will retain 60% and 40% will be distributed on a per capita basis to cities in the county. 

Other races:

Ron Kemp ran opposed to retain his Rainier City Council Position No. 4 seat. 

Harry W. Miller ran unopposed for Fire Protection District No. 17 (Bald Hills) commissioner Position No. 1. 

David Shepherd ran unopposed for SE Thurston Fire Authority, sub region 1, commissioner, Position No. 2. 

Jeff Dehan ran unopposed for SE Thurston Fire Authority, sub region 2, commissioner, Position No. 2. 

Bill DeVore ran unopposed for SE Thurston Fire Authority, sub region 3, commissioner, Position No. 1. 

Steven Slater ran unopposed for SE Thurston Fire Authority, sub region 3, commissioner, Position No. 2. 

Kristen Colt ran unopposed for Cemetery District No. 2 (Yelm) commissioner Position No. 3.

In Pierce County elections, in the City of Roy, incumbent Mayor Kimber Ivy ran opposed, as did incumbent councilors Yvonne Starks, Clayton Grubb, Harvey L. Gilchrist and Bill Starks.

To see the latest election results, updated daily by Thurston County, visit


Yelm City Council

Position No. 1 

Stephanie Kangiser: 293 votes, 50.17%

Tracey Wood: 288 votes, 49.32%

Position No. 2

Joseph Dale Richardson: 294 votes, 50.78%

Jerry Toompas: 280 votes, 48.36%

Position No. 6

Ashley Lea Brooks: 290 votes, 49.91%

Trevor Palmer: 287 votes, 49.40%

Rainier City Council

Position No. 2

Ryan Roth: 148 votes, 56.06%

Damion Green: 114 votes 43.18%

Yelm Community Schools Board of Directors (combined results from both Thurston and Pierce counties)

District No. 2 

Casey Shaw: 1,860 votes, 57.18%

Eric Heid: 1,345 votes, 41.35%

District No. 3

Denise Hendrickson: 1,989 votes, 60.09%

Allyn Verbal: 1,302 votes, 39.34%

District No. 5

Bill Hauss: 1,914 votes, 57.62%

Karen (Kay) Anderson: 1,386 votes, 41.72%

Rainier School Board of Directors

District No. 1

Amanda Siemandel: 427 votes, 58.65%

Aaron Lang: 296 votes, 40.66%

District No. 2

Jerry F. Sprouffske: 420 votes, 55.93%

Jon Palmer: 326 votes, 43.41%

District No. 3

Dana Morgan Spivey: 542 votes, 72.36%

Brian Hackethal: 205 votes, 27.37%

Thurston County Commission

District No. 4

Vivian Eason: 19,905 votes, 50.88%

Wayne Fournier: 19,078 votes, 48.77%

District No. 5

Emily Clouse: 23,095 votes, 58.78%

Terry S. Ballard: 16,065 votes, 40.89%

Port of Olympia Commission

District No. 1

Jasmine Vasavada: 19,240 votes, 50.10%

Bill McGregor: 19,018 votes, 49.52%

District No. 4

Maggie Sanders: 19,056 votes, 50.11%

Rose Chiu Gundersen: 18,782 votes, 49.39%

District No. 5

Sarah Tonge: 19,516 votes, 51.54%

Troy Kirby: 18,190 votes, 48.04%

Thurston County Proposition No. 1: Sales and use tax for law enforcement protection, corresponding prosecution and public defense services and elections security

Approved: 22,312 votes, 57.86%

Rejected: 16,250 votes, 42.14%