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Mike Wallin addresses council

Longview City Councilman Mike Wallin discusses federal grant funding allocations during Thursday's council meeting.

Longview City Councilman Mike Wallin has come a step closer to fending off a vigorous election challenge from John Melink.

Thursday’s count of thousands more general election ballots had Wallin leading by 96 votes, increasing a lead that had been only three votes after Tuesday’s initial count.

Wallin’s percentage of the vote, which was 50.34 percent, is just enough to avoid an automatic recount, if it holds.

About 2,500 ballots remain to be tabulated countywide, but it was not immediately known how many are from the city of Longview.

The outcome of other Longview council races remained unchanged with Thursday’s results.

Incumbent Don Jensen was losing to challenger Ruth Kendall by 190 votes with Thursday’s count. With Kendall receiving 50.8% of the votes, the race remains beyond the bounds of an automatic recount.

Hillary Strobel continued her lead over incumbent Scott Vydra, capturing 53% of the vote to lead by 568 votes, 4,487-3,919.

And Christine Schott, in her race against Spencer Boudreau for an open seat, led with 52.5% of the vote, also leading by 473 votes, 4,540 to 4,067.

The next ballot count is expected by 5 p.m. Friday. Election results must be certified by Nov. 26.

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