Tharinger, Hargrove face challengers in General Election

Thousands of additional votes have been counted in Clallam County since Election Day, Tuesday, Aug. 7, but the winners and losers in the state and local primary elections are unchanged from the preliminary count announced that day.

The prospects are positive for incumbents in local races.


Position 2 — Tharinger picks up win

Democrat Steve Tharinger bested challenger Steve Gale, a Republican, in the primary.
Tharinger, an incumbent, won 53 percent of the vote in Clallam County in the two-man race for Position 2 in the 24th District in the Washington House of Representatives.

Tharinger tallied nearly 60 percent across the district with more than 22,012 votes to Gale's 16,281.

Tharinger said, "We're encouraged by the results. We won."

He credited the victory to his record. 

"I've been in the area for a while and was fairly effective in the first two years working on health care, education and on the issues that are important. I think my experience in local government was a big help."

Tharinger added, "I still have a lot to learn locally and in Olympia, but I think it was a pretty successful freshman term."

Gale did not respond to Gazette calls and e-mails.

The two will face off again in the November general election.

Fellow incumbent Kevin Van De Wege, a Democrat, is running unopposed for Position 1.


County Commissioner District No. 2 — Chapman and Roth will face off

In the Clallam County Commissioner seat No. 2 race, incumbent Mike Chapman picked up 38.77 percent of the votes (2,582) with Maggie Roth in second place with 26.57 percent (1,769 votes). The two will move on to the general election.

The other candidates were removed from the running: Dale Holiday, Democrat, with 16.38 percent (1,091 votes); Patti Morris, Democrat, with 11.52 percent (767 votes); and Sandra Long, Independent, with 6.76 percent (450 votes).


Clallam Superior Court Judge Position 1 — Rohrer and Melly continue the race

Erik Rohrer picked up more than a third of Clallam County votes in the four-person race for county Judge Position 1.

Rohrer received 36.4 percent of Clallam votes (6,432), with Christopher Melly in second at 23.6 percent (4,174 votes). William Payne was third (21.2 percent) and Curtis Johnson fourth (18.7 percent).

Johnson said he appreciated the support, especially from campaign staff and pioneer families of the Sequim-Dungeness Valley. His campaign weakness was that he didn't align himself to a political party, he said.

While he thinks either candidate would serve the county well, Johnson said he would support Melly.

Payne said he was happy, though it wasn't what he'd hoped for, and he wanted to thank all the voters.

"I wish those two the best and may the best man win," he said. "I think everyone ran a fair, clean campaign and there wasn't any mudslinging or that kind of stuff. Everyone had a lot of integrity."

Rohrer said he is honored to have received such strong support from the voters in the primary.

"It's gratifying to see that I have a double-digit lead in the latest ballot count," he said. 

"I want to send thanks to everyone who has supported me in the campaign so far."

Melly said it was bittersweet to be in the top two and see Payne and Johnson eliminated. He considers Payne and Johnson his friends, he said.

"I'm very pleased with the results I'm glad I made the cut to go on to the general election," he said. 


State senator — Carter, Hargrove move on

With just two in the race, incumbent Jim Hargrove and challenger Larry Carter are headed to the general election, but Hargrove has reason for optimism following the primary.

Hargrove, a Democrat, beat Carter by a 65-35 split (24,501 votes to 9,543). In Clallam, Hargrove's lead is slightly less, with 62 percent of the vote.

Hargrove, who has served in the state Senate since 1993, remains confident, saying rather than devoting a great deal of time to the campaign he's going to continue his work representing the people of his district. 

"I can't just take my time off," he said.

He added, "I'm going to continue talking about the things I've been talking about." That includes "saving the taxpayers money by making government work better."

Carter believes he has a winning issue in SB 1657, which in 2011 passed the Washington House "98 to zero," he said.

The bill, which would have revised the statute of limitations on child rape, was stalled in Senate committee by Hargrove.

Carter said there may have been issues with the bill, "but why didn't he offer to amend the thing?"

He added, "Also Mr. Hargrove hasn't made up his mind either way about the Dungeness Water Rule or Wild Olympics. I'm very opposed to both. I'm not saying there isn't something we can do. But no one has been able to prove this thing is really needed. Every time land use comes up we're told the government could do better."

Hargrove defended his position on SB 1657, saying he has since conducted additional research into the matter and intends to file an improved version this year.

He also discussed his position on the Dungeness Water Rule, saying, "My input is that the rule needs to be clearly understandable. I want this to be something people understand, including how much it's going to cost them."

He said the agency mustn't adopt a rule and say, "Oh, we'll figure it out later."


U.S. Senator — Cantwell has the lead

Washington state and Clallam County voters put incumbent U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell, a Democrat, on a collision course Republican Michael Baumgartner. The two will face of in the general election.

Cantwell, who has served in the Senate since 2000, received 10,479 votes, nearly 52 percent of all Clallam votes cast. She received nearly 56 percent of ballots cast statewide.

Baumgartner, who now serves in the state Senate, was Cantwell's closest challenger in the field of eight. He received 6,206 votes, just shy of 31 percent in Clallam County, similar to his statewide percentage.

Art Coday, a Republican, received almost 7 percent of the Clallam vote.

Congressional District 6 — Kilmer in front

The battle to grab the U.S. Congressional seat from the 6th District is wide open as Norm Dicks, who has represented the district since 1977, declined to run.

Democrat Derek Kilmer easily outpaced the rest of the field in Clallam voting and across the district. The sole Democrat on the ballot received 9,701 Clallam votes, 47 percent of the total number of votes cast.

Districtwide he did even better with 53 percent — about 85,000 votes.

"I've been saying we need someone to fight for the middle class," Kilmer told the Sequim Gazette last week.

"Tonight's results are a strong show of support for that," he said. "They want someone who will fight every day to get people back to work and who will cut through the partisan gridlock and get Congress back to work, too."

Kilmer acknowledged that he and his staff will keep the same focus for the November election.

"We're going to keep working hard," he said.

Three Republicans battled it out for second place in Clallam County. With 17.82 percent of the vote, Bill Driscoll edged out Doug Cloud (14.86 percent) and Jesse Young (13.51 percent). 

With 18 percent of the vote districtwide, Driscoll will face off against Kilmer in the general election.
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