McCarthy wins executive race

The results are finally in and Democrat Pat McCarthy will be the next Pierce County executive.

The results are finally in and Democrat Pat McCarthy will be the next Pierce County executive.

McCarthy won the race by a slim margin, 51 to 49 percent, over Republican Shawn Bunney, following the county’s first use of the ranked choice voting process.

Voters approved the ranked choice system in November 2006 for all county officials except judges and the prosecuting attorney.

Ranked choice kicks in when none of the candidates in a race gains 50 percent of the vote. Voters mark their ballot, ranking the candidates in order. The candidate or candidates with the least votes are eliminated and the second choices listed on the ballots are factored into the calculations, called an algorithm. If the second choice on a ballot has been eliminated, the third choice is used or the fourth, depending on which candidate is eliminated.

There were four candidates who ran for the office – McCarthy, Bunney, Calvin Goings, a Democrat and Mike Lonergan, the Executive Excellence party.

The algorithm has been run several times since the Nov. 4 election. Lonergan and Goings were eliminated and McCarthy edged out Bunney Thursday.

In the other county race affected by ranked choice, Dale Washam has won the assessor-treasurer race.

Reach Dennis Box at or 360-802-8209.

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