The vote counts for all candidates for elective office in the 15th Legislative District and Yakima County that affect the Lower Valley went up in late vote counting last week, but positions did not change. In most cases, the leaders of each race added to their margins.

There are about 900 votes remaining to be counted as of this morning, according to Nolan Wentz of Yakima, who is battling with Dave Simmons of Zillah for the second spot on this fall’s ballot for Yakima County Sheriff. He declined commenting on the future because it remains uncertain.

Yakima County Sheriff Chief Criminal Deputy Robert Udell is way out in front, rising from 10,570 votes to 16,579. Wentz went from 5,967 o 6,931 to remain in second, and Simmons retained third with a change from 5,713 to 6,542.

All three candidates ran on a message of change. Udell’s was little more extensive, based on inside information. He could speak to recent and future changes.

“My message on the campaign trail has been one of stability, and at the same time, of change,” Udell said. “I have stressed my experience — over 28 years in almost every aspect of the agency — and my involvement in the budget and interaction with the other elected officials, including the Board of County Commissioners.”

“I know the strengths and the challenges we face intimately,” he added. “I deal with them daily. I bring stability, as a change in administration brings a possible change in direction, and under Sheriff Brian Winter, we have been headed in the right direction.”

In the race for Yakima County Commissioner, District 3, the top voter remains Democrat Susan Soto Palmer with 2,425 votes. Republican Norm Childress of Grandview is in the second spot with 1,707 votes, and Republican Summer Derrey has 1,404 votes in third place.

Childress is confident he will emerge as the second candidate on the November ballot. He’s also confident about the fall. He noted the six Republicans in the primary split more than 6,900 votes.

One Childress message that should resonate with voters south off Union Gap is that his presence will provide Lower Valley representation on the board of commissioners.

In races that went according to historical trends in the 15th District, Jim Honeyford of Sunnyside got 11,808 votes to 5,808 votes for Sunnyside Democrat Bengie Aguilar. They’ll go at it again in the fall.

Granger Republican Bruce Chandler is leading Democrat Jack McIntire, 11,672-5,840 for State Representative position 1. They will wage battle again in the fall.

The race that remained a surprise after Friday’s counting was the one for 15th District House seat No. 2. Incumbent David Taylor was outpolled by newcomer Jeremie Dufault of Selah and 2016 challenger A.J. Cooper of Yakima. Dufault received 8,141 votes to 4,561 for Cooper and 4,108 for Taylor.

Cooper and Soto Palmer face the same challenge heading toward November. Both Democrats took about one-third of the vote, with two-thirds going to Republicans. Their best chance may be to read the Dufault campaign book.

Dufault credited his “great team” for the primary win, but it’s well-known that Dufault impressed voters with his presence, command and energy.

He missed few doors when he went door-knocking himself. Writing to the Daily Sun News, one reader said he voted for Dufault because Dufault came to his house and answered all his questions.

“I will continue to do the same,” Dufault said. “I believe you need to communicate with people you want to represent.”

The odds will be long for Democrat candidates and Wentz this fall, considering the historical preferences of the voters.

But there is a chance, if anyone can light a fire the way Dufault did in the primaries.

For the 15th District races, there will be more than 58,000 voters this fall. There will be about 115,00 for the countywide races.

Chandler would like see a bigger voter participation in general and overall.

“It would be nice to know the majority of the district is behind you,” he said.

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