2021 General Election: SGGL candidates take big leads for Sequim city council positions

Sequim voters made a clear choice following results of the 2021 General Election, electing all five Sequim City Council candidates backed by the Sequim Good Governance League.

Appointed office-holders Rachel Anderson and Brandon Janisse retained their positions, while challengers Kathy Downer, Vicki Lowe and Lowell Rathbun came away clear winners following initial ballots counts Tuesday night, defeating five candidates backed by the Independent Advisory Association.

Meanwhile, Kristi Schmeck garnered more votes than Virginia Sheppard for an at-large Sequim School Board director position despite withdrawing prior to the primary election and not being able to hold the seat.

On the Olympic Medical Center commission, J. Thomas Oblak, incumbent and a retired director of environment and safety in hospitals, holds a strong lead over Jim McEntire, a U.S. Coast Guard veteran and retired federal senior executive, for Position 2, with 10,858 votes (58.2 percent) to McEntire’s 7,765 votes (41.6 percent).

Heather Jeffers, the executive director of a long-term nursing center, earned a big election night lead over Karen Rogers, a small business owner and former Port Angeles mayor; Jeffers garnered 12,030 votes (64.5 percent) to Rogers’ 6,573 votes (35.2 percent).

As of Tuesday, the voter turnout was 36.9 percent, after 21,131 of the 57,166 ballots mailed to registers voters had been received as of Tuesday, according to the Clallam County elections office. The next count will be by 4:30 p.m. Wednesday.

The election is certified Nov. 23.

City, school board changes

Anderson, a born-and-raised Sequim native, tallied 1,944 votes (68.6 percent), compared to 889 votes (31.4 percent) for Daryl Ness, who had a career on the railroad system, in the race for Position 4.

Janisse, a Sequim High graduate who served in the U.S. Army with a tour in Iraq and has degrees in criminal justice and political science, earned 1,885 votes (67.4 percent) compared to 906 votes (32.4 percent) for Patrick Day, a former corrections officer, in the Position 5 race.

The three Independent Advisory Association candidates seeking to retain positions they were appointed to saw significant election night deficits. In the race for Position 2, Sarah Kincaid, tallied 836 votes (29.5 percent), trailing challenged Kathey Downer, a retired nurse, who garnered 1,994 votes (70.4 percent).

Challenger Vicki Lowe, who has worked in health administration since 1996, earned 1,966 votes (69.1 percent) to Mike Pence’s 876 votes (30.8 percent).

In the race for Sequim City Council Position 6, Lowell Rathbun — a retired design engineer from Oregon — held a hefty lead over Keith Larkin; Rathbun had 1,876 votes (66.3 percent) to Larkin’s 950 votes (33.6 percent).

Schmeck, who initially tried to officially withdraw earlier this year but whose name appeared on the primary election ballot — she received the most votes of the four candidates in the election — tallied 5,828 votes in the multi-county race for 56.6 percent of ballots cast Tuesday night, out-pacing Sheppard’s 4,344 votes (42.2 percent).

According to state officials, Schmeck will have to resign her position and the other four Sequim School Board directors will appoint someone to her at-large role.

Schmeck and Sheppard edged out Rachel Tax and Derek Huntington in the primary election on Aug. 3.

In the other Sequim School Board race, newcomer Patrice Johnston ran unchallenged for Director District 2 and will join Larry Jeffryes, Eric Pickens and Jim Stoffer on the board in early 2022.

Fire district race

In the Fire District 3 commission race (Position 1), Jeff Nicholas, a retired U.S. Navy submarine captain, was well ahead of Duane Chamlee, a U.S. Army veteran and retired California deputy fire chief.

As of Tuesday, Nicholas had 7,004 votes (64.7 percent) in the multi-county race to Chamlee’s 3,787 votes (34.5 percent).

In other uncontested local races, Ray. L Henninger and Frank Pickering won Clallam County Park and Recreation District races (positions 1 and 2), and Alan Frank won his Sunland Water District commissioner race.

Port of Port Angeles commissioner Colleen McAleer, representing District 1 (Sequim) won her uncontested race, as did District 2 commissioner Steven Burke.

Thom Hightower retained his Hospital District commission position, also running unchallenged.

Port Angeles races

Four of the seven seats on the Port Angeles City Council are on the ballot, and all are contested.

Mayor Kate Dexter, elected mayor by her fellow council members two years ago, looks to retain her position after holding a slight lead over retired veterinarian John W. Procter, with 2,460 votes (53.6 percent) to Proctor’s 2,120 votes (46.2 percent).

The race for Position 1 on the Port Angeles City Council between appointee LaTrisha Suggs and Adam Garcia is close following Tuesday night’s ballot count. Suggs, a member of the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe who works for the tribe, has 2,363 votes (51.5 percent), while Garcia, an Army veteran and currently works for the Veterans Health Administration, has 2,223 votes (48.4 percent).

Incumbent Mike French, a small business owner, has a strong lead for the Position 2 seat over challenger John Madden, another small business owner. French has 2,728 votes (59.5 percent) to Madden’s 1,848 votes (40.3 percent).

For Position 3 on the Port Angeles City Council, incumbent Lindsey Schromen-Wawrin, an attorney, has 2,366 votes (51.5 percent), compared to 2,216 votes (48.2 percent) for challenger Jena Stamper, a small business owner.

In the two contested Port Angeles school board races, incumbent Sarah Methner holds a sizable lead (4,126-3,153, a 56.3-43 percent split) over Lola Moses, a member of the Lower Elwha Tribe and an early education disabilities manager, in the Position 1 race. Mary Hebert, longtime administrator and teacher, earned 4,375 votes (58.4 percent), to 3,096 votes (41.3 percent) for Gabi Johnson, an accounting manager, are running for Position 2 on the Port Angeles School Board.

For more information, go to clallam.net/Auditor/Elections.html.