Kessler, Dicks, Dwyer back Tharinger

'Tis the season for endorsements and some local candidates are in no short supply of the electoral gifts.

State Legislature Position 2 candidate Steve Tharinger, a three-term Clallam County commissioner from Sequim, received three key endorsements from fellow Democrats - including his August primary challenger. His opponent, Port of Port Angeles Commissioner and retired Coast Guard Capt. Jim McEntire, touts the endorsements of several business and gun-rights groups.

Democrats stand behind Tharinger

U.S. Rep. Norm Dicks, D-Belfair, state Rep. and House Majority Leader Lynn Kessler, D-Hoquiam, and former opponent Jack Dwyer, of Montesano, all released individual statements of support for Tharinger during the past week.

Dwyer, who placed third in the primary election for Kessler's seat, said in his statement Democrats need to come together to support Tharinger in his run for office.

Tharinger is seeking to succeed Kessler, who is retiring after 18 years in the state Legislature.

In her statement, Kessler said Tharinger has what it takes to meet the complex needs of the 24th Legislative District.

"When I hear people talk about filling my shoes, I just want to leave the district in good hands," she said. "That's why I am asking the voters to support Steve."

Dicks, who has served in Congress continually since 1977, said Tharinger has been a trusted voice of reason when it comes to important district issues such as economic development, health care, preserving the environment and ensuring fiscal responsibility.

Tharinger said his working relationships with Dicks and Kessler over the past 10-12 years has helped the county. The Kessler endorsement is especially appreciated because she doesn't normally endorse candidates, he said.

"I don't think anyone can fill her shoes but I can hit the ground running and follow in her footsteps," he said.

Associations endorse McEntire

Listing the economy as his No. 1 priority, McEntire has the support of several state business associations.

The Washington Lodging Association, Washington Realtors Association, the Association of Washington Businesses, and, on the national level, the National Federation of Independent Businesses stand behind his campaign, McEntire said.

"I'm just delighted to have the confidence of so many organizations that are in the center of the economy of the state," he said. "That to me means they have a tremendous amount of confidence in me and my focus on the economy and seeing that as job No. 1 in Olympia."

McEntire also is endorsed by the National Rifle Association, Washington Arms Collectors' Gun Owners Action League, Builders United in Legislative Decisions (BUILD) PAC, Ocean Companies and the Washington Farm Bureau.

Prosecutor candidates

Larry Freedman, a Sequim Democrat running for Clallam County prosecutor, was endorsed by his primary opponent Lauren Erickson last week.

In a written statement, Erickson encouraged her supporters to vote for Freedman in the November election. Erickson received 20 percent of the votes in the August primary.

Erickson said the two-term incumbent Deb Kelly does a poor job of managing the office, which has caused all of the experienced prosecutors to quit. Kelly also caused the office to be the target of a multi-million-dollar age discrimination lawsuit by four former employees, Erickson said in her statement.

"We really feel the same about the problems in Deb Kelly's office," Freedman said. "I'm hoping and expecting they (Erickson's supporters) would prefer me over Deb Kelly because Lauren Erickson and I stand for the same thing."

Kelly, the two-term incumbent, said she is not ready to release her endorsements yet.

Reach Amanda Winters at awinters@sequim

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