A local politician lost his election by one vote after he decided not to vote for himself

A person viewed from behind in a red shirt handles ballots at Thurston County Ballot Processing Center in Tumwater, during a 2020 election.
A file image of a worker retrieving a stack of ballots at the Thurston County Ballot Processing Center in Tumwater, Washington State, July 23, 2020.Lindsey Wasson/Reuters
  • A local council candidate in Washington State decided not to cast a ballot. He then lost by one vote.

  • He said afterwards "I thought it was kind of narcissistic" to vote for myself.

  • His rival — who voted for himself after his wife encouraged him to do so — won the seat instead.

A Washington State political candidate decided not to vote for himself, and then lost his election by a single vote, according to local officials.

Damion Green ran for a council seat in the city of Rainier, located in Thurston County about 25 miles south of Tacoma. Green received 246 votes — but his rival, Ryan Roth, pipped him with 247.

The results of a mandatory manual recount, announced on December 1, confirmed the result, and that in effect Green had swung the election against himself.

But voting for himself would have been like "stacking a deck in your favor," Green told local newspaper The Seattle Times.

"I thought it was kind of narcissistic, so I didn't," he said, according to MSNBC affiliate King5.

Both Green and Roth ran on issues of how the small city of Rainier — which has just 2,400 people — would handle its rapid growth, according to The Seattle Times.

Roth chose to vote for himself, but only after his wife encouraged him to do so, the paper reported. He mailed in his ballot with just a few days to go, it said.

"Your vote does count," he said, according to the paper. "It does matter."

Roth also said that winning by one vote in such a tight race was "pretty insane."

Roth noted that if the vote had been tied, it could have gone to a coin toss.

In 2015, a primary election for mayor of Tenino, a nearby city of fewer than 2,000 people, was tied at exactly 136 votes to 136. A coin toss ultimately decided the race, as local newspaper The Chronicle reported at the time.

Roth said that had this recent vote been tied, "I would have called tails."

Green, who previously ran as a write-in candidate, said he may choose to run for office again. "The third time will be a charm," he told King 5.

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