With 2,000 votes left in Benton, and only 500 left in Franklin Counties to count, our totals have risen sharply.

Benton County stands to finished just over 80 percent turnout, while Franklin County just over 75.

However, despite the number of ballots left at the state level being dropped by half, from 530 to about 224K, it hasn't made much difference in the biggest races.  In Benton County alone, Maia Espinoza's margin over SPI Incumbent Kris Reykdal widened to margins expected before the election, widened even more in Franklin. But statewide, little dent made.

However, with the Governor's, Lt. Governors, Attorney General, and Superintendent of Public Instruction (SPI) races, the margins remained about the same, anywhere 400-600,000 votes in favor of the incumbents.

The only race wider than that was Lt. Governor. Joshua Freed, the GOP write-in, did pick up a couple of percentage points, now having a whisker under 20 percent of the tally, but former legislator and Democrat Denny Heck now has 46 percent, while 2nd place Democrat Marko Liias is at 33.

Several counties who were in the 40 and 50 percent margins still have nearly half or 1/3 of their votes to count, this includes Yakima and Walla Walla. They will likely wind up at least in the upper 50's or low 60's for turnout.

With the exception of a couple of other counties in similar positions, most of the counties outside of the Seattle-King-Pierce-Snohomish area  were above 65 percent, a lot at or over 70-75 and some at or over 80.

The statewide average, which will go up, is at 77.91, and will likely wind up at or over 80 percent.

A few media political observers, some legislators and a number of voters are starting to say they believe while this voter turnout was great, it will likely add at least some momentum to the 'split WA state' movement.

We're hearing increasing chatter that even though the areas outside of the "Big 3" of King, Pierce and Snohomish Counties had huge numbers, so did they. So far King has has had 82 percent voter turnout.

Those who believe in the 51st. state movement say this reinforces the belief that no matter what the other 36 counties do, the west side metro area will still dominate politically. There are 39  counties in WA.

Add to that the handful of counties that tend to side with King, Pierce and Snohomish and go almost exclusively Democrat, and it makes it that much more tough. These Counties include San Juan, Island, Whatcom, Thurston and Skagit.  They're not as populated as Benton or Franklin, but they do add numbers that make overcoming the "Big 3" that much more difficult.

The only county on the East side of the cascades that lean similarly is Walla Walla and to a lesser degree Whitman leans left, although not nearly as much.

We expect a lot more momentum to the 51st. state movement especially after seeing how King, Pierce, Snohomish and a few others overcame the votes of about 30-32 other 'conservative' counties. We shall see.



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