Surprise! State Rep. Kevin Van De Wege, who ran unopposed in the primaries, is in a runoff for his District 24 seat in the Washington House of Representatives. The winner will be determined by voters in the general election, with ballots to be counted on Nov. 6.
Running unopposed, Van De Wege gathered 96.61 percent of the 26,680 votes that were cast.
Meanwhile, Craig Durgan, an Independent from Port Ludlow, had a stealth write-in candidacy at work. In the end he picked up more than 900 votes, more than enough to place his name on the ballot.
The fact that he wasn’t an active candidate in the primaries doesn’t mean Durgan isn’t enthusiastic about the opportunity ahead.
Larry Carter, who is challenging Sen. Jim Hargrove for the 24th District senatorial seat, is serving as co-chairman of Durgan’s campaign. He said prior to the primaries he had received a number of e-mails from local voters disappointed that no one had challenged Van De Wege.
“We decided to let people know they could vote for Durgan,” Carter said.
Durgan’s candidacy doesn’t come completely out of left field. He ran against Van De Wege two years ago and was edged out in the primary.
Durgan continues to believe he has the right platform; now he has the opportunity to go head-to-head with Van De Wege.
“The economy is in terrible shape and he hasn’t done anything about it,” Durgan said.
He added that Van De Wege has too often supported government actions that are damaging property rights on the peninsula. Referring to the proposed Dungeness Water Rule, Durgan said Van De Wege “tends to support Ecology.”
He said he’s running again because the issues remain the same: “jobs, the economy and property rights.”
“The last time I ran his big refrain was that he helped Peninsula Plywood and their hundred jobs. They’re now bankrupt.”
Durgan said he’s running as an Independent because he’s never been a member of a party.
“A party is to help raise money for candidates. I hold my views and they don’t particularly align with any party,” he said. “The people asked, so I’m running.”
Durgan, a 20-year resident of Jefferson County, has been a merchant seaman for more than 30 years. He is a 30-year union member and a current business owner. He was born and raised in Seattle.
He graduated with honors from the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, N.Y., where he earned a commission as an ensign in the U.S. Naval Reserve, a Bachelor of Science degree and was licensed by the U.S. Coast Guard as a third mate and third engineer. He holds the rank of chief engineer.
For more information, call Durgan at 360-774-0086.