Incumbents held leads in races for Clallam County commissioner, prosecuting attorney, sheriff and director of community development after the first count of general election ballots tonight (Nov. 6).
The Clallam County Auditor’s Office counted about 23,440 ballots out of the 52,674 ballots ballots issued to registered voters for a voter turnout of 44.5 percent.
The next count of ballots in the all-mail election will be Friday, Nov. 9; an estimated 7,000 ballots are left to count.
Bill Peach, 63, a Republican from Beaver, appeared likely to keep his Clallam County commissioner seat for a second term against former commissioner Mike Doherty Jr., 75, a Port Angeles Democrat, with 53.2 percent of ballots cast. The district extends from west Port Angeles to Neah Bay.
Prosecuting attorney Mark Nichols, 46, was leading challenger Selinda Barkhuis, 56, in the initial count with 58.2 percent of ballots. Nichols, a Port Angeles Republican, is seeing a second term. Barkhuis is former Clallam County treasurer who lives in Port Angeles. She filed with no party preference.
Sheriff Bill Benedict, 68, of Sequim, has a commanding lead versus challenger Jim McLaughlin, 61, of Port Angeles, with 73.1 percent.
Director of Community Development Mary Ellen Winborn, 58, of Port Angeles, had received 62.4 percent of ballots cast in her race against challenger Julie Gardiner, 61, of Sequim.
Dave Neupert, 63, had a slight edge (51.5 percent) over Suzanne Hayden, 62, for the District Court 1 judgeship. The two Port Angeles attorneys are vying for the judgeship vacated by Rick Porter over the district which stretches from Blyn to west of Lake Crescent.
John Black, 67, was just four votes ahead of Erik Rohrer, 60, in the vote count for the District Court 2 judgeship (627-623). Both residents of the Forks area are vying for the seat vacated by John Doherty. The district extends from west of Lake Crescent to Neah Bay.
Challenger Jim Waddell, 65, has a slight lead over longtime incumbent Ted Simpson, 76, in the District 3 seat of the Clallam County Public Utility District with 50.6 percent of ballots cast. Simpson has served for 33 years representing the district that extends to the West End. The entire county votes with the exception of Port Angeles, in the election.
A proposal to renew sales and use tax levy for the Sequim Transportation Benefit District appear headed for approval with 77.3 percent of the ballots cast at Tuesday’s count; the measure requires a simple majority of 50 percent plus one vote to pass.
Two propositions for expansion of the Sequim Library at 630 N. Sequim Ave., were leading in the tallies tonight, but Proposition 2 — the measure that would fund the expansion — is short of the 60 percent supermajority requirement with 58 percent.
Proposition 1, which requires only a simple majority for passage and would create the Sequim Library Capital Facilities Area tax district with about the same boundaries as the Sequim School District, is receiving nearly 65 percent of ballots cast. Proposition 2 would would finance expansion by allowing issuance of up to $12.4 million in general obligation bonds.
Clallam County Fire District 3’s levy lid lift proposal appeared to be headed for approval with 60.6 percent yes votes in Tuesday night’s count. Approval only requires a majority vote of 50 percent plus one.
Legislative races, initiatives
In the Legislative District 24 Position 1 race, Mike Chapman, 55, a Port Angeles Democrat, was leading in his bid for a second term against challenger Jodi Wilke, 59, a Port Townsend Republican, with nearly 59 percent of the vote. He was winning in Clallam (55 percent) and Jefferson (69 percent) counties and losing in Grays Harbor County (49 percent).
With 57 percent of ballots cast, the Position 2 seat incumbent — Steve Tharinger, 69, a Port Townsend Democrat — appeared to be losing in his bid for a fifth term against challenger Jim McEntire, 68, a Sequim Republican. Tharinger was winning Jefferson County (69.4 percent) and Clallam County (52.1 percent), but not in Grays Harbor county (48 percent).
In the race for Congressional District 6 seat, incumbent Derek Kilmer, 44, a Gig Harbor Democrat, was leading in his bid for a fourth term in the race against challenger Dougkas Dightmen, 48, a Shelton Republican. Kilmer had 61.6 percent of the vote. District 6 includes the North Olympic Peninsula.
U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell, 60, an Edmonds Democrat, was ahead in the race to keep her seat for a fourth term against challenger Susan Hutchison, 64, a Seattle Republican. Cantwell had 59.4 percent of nearly 1.8 million ballots cast.
State initiatives that appeared to be on their way to approval were Initiative 940, which would require law enforcement officers to receive violence de-escalation, mental health and first aid training (59.8 percent yes votes); the gun control measure, Initiative 1639 (61.1 percent), and Initiative 1634 (53.9 percent yes votes), which would prohibit new or increased local taxes, fees or assessments on raw or processed food or beverages unless they were effective by Jan.15 of this year or were generally applicable.
Falling short of passage in early counts is the carbon fee measure Initiative 1631 (44.5 percent yes votes).