A Clallam County Public Utility District commissioner position became a wide open seat for the Nov. 3 general election after appointee David Anderson surprised his colleagues by announcing he would not run for the six-year seat.
Candidates for open seats in Clallam and Jefferson counties include two Democratic candidates for outgoing Jefferson County Commissioner David Sullivan’s position and two for the seat Anderson said he will vacate after being appointed 1½ years ago — and which PUD commissioners had thought he would seek.
“I am grateful to have the opportunity to be working with the talented PUD staff, and collaborating with organizations across Clallam County and public utility professionals from every corner of the state,” Anderson said Friday, April 17, in an email response to an inquiry last week from Peninsula Daily News about his electoral intentions.
“I will, however, not be able to provide the effort this role deserves beyond the end of this year.”
Longtime PUD Commissioners Will Purser and then- Commissioner Ted Simpson named Anderson to the late PUD Commissioner Hugh Haffner’s Sequim-area vacancy in September 2018 after Haffner had resigned.
Purser said commissioners expressed their clear expectation during applicant interviews that they wanted a replacement who would run in 2020 for a full six-year term.
Purser said Friday he would not have selected Anderson had he known Anderson would only finish Haffner’s term.
He and Simpson selected Anderson over 13 other applicants.
“It’s disappointing,” said Purser, who learned of Anderson’s decision earlier last week.
“We wanted someone who would actually run again. That was one of the important considerations. It takes a few years to get up to speed and takes some dedication.
“It’s also sad that he didn’t really apply himself to it a bit more.
“Maybe he didn’t know what he was getting into and didn’t know how time-consuming it was.”
Anderson, a former Seattle City Light project manager, said April 17 in an interview that he left his intentions “wide open” during the interview with Purser and Simpson.
“You move forward based on conditions as they develop and what the current conditions are,” Anderson said.
“I’ve had requests to join other boards and take on other responsibilities. If I had not been applying myself, I probably would not be getting all those solicitations.”
Waddell, who defeated Simpson in the 2018 general election, said he was not aware Friday of Anderson’s decision.
“I am surprised,” he said.
“You hate to start all over when you are kind of building a team. I just hope we have a good set of candidates to run for the position.”
Candidate filing week for the general election is May 11-15, but candidates can file with the state Public Disclosure Commission before then, which is a requirement if they declare for public office.
Candidates must file during filing week to appear on the ballot.
Two people had said as of Friday that they are running for Anderson’s PUD Position 2 seat.
Port Angeles real estate agent Patti Morris, an applicant for Haffner’s District 2 position in 2018 and whose husband, Larry, is the PUD safety manager, announced Friday that she is a candidate.
Carlsborg resident Neil Knutson filed for the position with the PDC on March 22 on the agency’s website at www.pdc.wa.gov.