Sequim’s Rick Paschall, 62, continues to lead Patti Morris, 66, of Port Angeles as of Tuesday for the Clallam County Public Utility District No. 2 position.
Paschall leads with 52.2 percent (15,774 votes) to Morris’ 47.5 percent (14,342) with about 1,800 ballots left to count.
Paschall, a retired electric–utility analyst, manager and contractor in the Pacific Northwest for the past 30-plus years, could be next to fill the six-year position held by the late Hugh Haffner.
Dave Anderson was appointed in Sept. 2018 after Haffner resigned in July 2018, but Anderson did not run for the seat.
Both Paschall and Morris were finalists for the position.
Paschall was unavailable for comment.
Morris, a consultant who worked for 28 years for the Tucson Electric Power Company in Arizona, said in an interview she will wait to comment on the race until ballots are counted.
“I’m down, but as far as I’m concerned, I’m going to wait until all the votes are counted and see where it goes,” she said.
“At this point, I’m just going to sit and wait for the race to finish. I can’t get beyond that until the votes are in.”
In their platforms, both candidates support keeping utility rates low. They also support wind and solar projects with Morris adding she supports all renewable and non-carbon power.
Both candidates also mentioned working with other utility districts in negotiating with the Bonneville Power Administration to lower electricity prices.
In a League of Women Voters of Clallam County forum in July, Paschall said that the PUD should be strong members of such regional organizations as the Public Power Council (PPC) because “that is the voice of public power and that is what BPA listens to.”
The Peninsula Daily News reports the Clallam County PUD was expelled from the PPD in June alleging that commissioner Jim Waddell, who favors removal of dams on the Snake River, leaked information that led to protests in Portland, Ore., which he denied.
Paschall said in July he is against the removal of the dams because it would take away resources from the BPA and could cost a significant amount to install new renewable resources to supplement the difference leading to higher rates.
Morris said in July she was still investigating the issue. However in a recent interview, she said a federal decision was made not to remove the dams and it’s not a high priority issue for the Clallam PUD for the time being.
She said it would take quite an effort to get an initiative going again to remove the dams but she believes there needs to be a way to balance the impact on salmon and humans.