UPDATED: Candidates emerge from Clallam Primary Election

The Olympic Peninsula’s two Democratic incumbents in the Legislative District 24 House of Representatives races will be on the Nov. 8 general election ballot with two Republican challengers.

Sue Forde of Sequim will oppose Rep. Mike Chapman of Port Angeles for the Position 1 seat, while Brian Pruiett of Carlsborg will be on the general election ballot challenging Rep. Steve Tharinger of Port Townsend for Position 2.

District 24 covers Clallam and Jefferson counties and part of Grays Harbor County.

Mike Chapman, Position 1, and Steve Tharinger, Position 2, received the most votes in both Clallam and Jefferson counties. The top vote-getter in the District 24 races in Grays Harbor County was Pruiett.

On Aug. 3, Tharinger said the results were encouraging.

“I think it’s good; I think the numbers will tighten a little here in the primary, but it feels good the voters appreciate the teamwork that Rep. Chapman and I put in,” Tharinger said.

Tharinger has held his seat since 2011. He chairs the Capital Budget Committee and serves on the Appropriations, Health Care and Wellness and Joint Planning for Aging and Disability Issues committees.

These committee assignments leave him well positioned to help the district with its various issues like housing and public safety, Tharinger said.

“It’s always humbling to get such strong support,” said Chapman, who chairs the Rural Development, Agriculture, and Natural Resources Committee and serves on the House Transportation Committee.

“I also want to listen and hear what people’s concerns are,” Chapman said. “I’m looking forward to continuing to discuss the issues with voters.”

District 24’s size and diversity produce a wide array of concerns from voters, Chapman and Tharinger said, but they agreed that housing is a common theme.

“In a district like the 24th that’s so large and so broad, I don’t think you can just pin it to one concern,” Chapman said, but noted that housing and homelessness were issues throughout the nation.

Said Tharinger: “We represent a diverse district. It takes some work to meet the needs of the voters. The voters seem to think we’re doing an OK job.”

Pruiett said he, too, was pleased with the results, and that his campaign team is preparing for the next phase of the election.

“The state [Legislature] has options if we see a change in the majority,” Pruiett said on Aug. 3.

“I see an opportunity to ease the housing crisis if the majority party changes to ease permitting restrictions.”

The economy and inflation were key issues for voters, Pruiett said, and reforming the state’s permitting laws could help spur the construction of much-needed housing in the district.

“We have canvassed over 25,000 doors since October,” Pruiett said. “We just finished the first phase. We’ll continue to work, work for positive change.”

Forde could not be reached for comment.

As of the count on Monday Aug. 8, Chapman held an overall total of 31,175 votes, or 57.8 percent, while Republican challengers Forde received 15,492 votes, or 28.7 percent, and Matthew Rainwater of Port Angeles had 7,188 votes, or 13.3 percent.

Tharinger had an overall total of 27,796 votes, or 51.9 percent, while Pruiett won 22,148 votes, or 41.3 percent. Democrat Darren Corcoran received 3,565 votes, or 6.6 percent.

Chapman had received 15,536 votes, or 53.7 percent, of the votes in Clallam County; 10,794 votes, or 71.7 percent, in Jefferson County (as of Aug. 5), and 4,845 votes, or 48.8 percent in Grays Harbor (as of Aug. 4).

Tharinger received 14,171 votes, or 49.3 percent of the vote in Clallam County; 9,826 votes, or 66.5 percent, in Jefferson County (as of Aug. 5), and 3,799 votes, or 37.8 percent, in Grays Harbor (as of Aug. 4).

Pruiett received 5,054 votes, or 50.3 percent, in Grays Harbor County (as of Aug. 4); 13,056 votes, or 45.4 percent, in Clallam County; and 4,038 votes, or 27.3 percent, in Jefferson County.

Forde received 9,614 votes, or 33.3 percent, in Clallam County; 3,163 votes, or 21 percent, in Jefferson County (as of Aug. 5); and 2,715 votes, or 27.4 percent, in Grays Harbor County (as of Aug. 4).

Emery, Kidd advance in DCD race

Bruce Emery and Cherie Kidd are headed for a face-off in the general midterm elections come November after coming out on top in the four-way primary race for the Clallam County Department of Community Development director position.

Clallam is the only county in the nation where the Department of Community Development (DCD) director is an elected rather than appointed position.

Emery, a former Clallam County planner, received 8,312 votes, or 30.4 percent, after Monday’s primary election ballots count.

Kidd, the former Port Angeles Mayor, received 7,621 votes, or 27.9 percent.

Jesse Major, a public records analyst with Clallam County and former code enforcement officer as well as a former reporter for the Peninsula Daily News, received 6,734 votes, or 24.6 percent.

Kevin Russell, twice the former president of the North Peninsula Builders, received 4,421 votes, or 16.2 percent.

“Naturally I am pleased with how things turned out. I was a little surprised by the results but expected to have a strong showing,” Emery said.

“I spent a lot of time door-belling and reaching out to the voters and believe they responded with support for my message that experienced, professional leadership is needed at the head of the DCD,” Emery said on Aug. 3.

“I look forward to continuing with that message and the opportunity to help resolve some of our current challenges, such as affordable housing, fostering economic development, finding efficiencies in the permitting process, and reestablishing good working relations with the Board of County Commissioners,” Emery said.

Said Kidd: “I am happy, honored and humbled and looking forward to November.

“I’m ready to focus on providing leadership and building teamwork in the DCD.”

Major said the results were “obviously not how I thought it was going to turn out, but the support I have received has been great and I am thankful to everyone who has helped me along the way.

“Last night [Tuesday, Aug. 2] I congratulated Cherie and Bruce at the courthouse.”

Said Russell, “Frankly, I’m more disappointed for all my supporters. Elections are elections. As I said when I was politicking, this isn’t a popularity contest, this is a job interview. But as it turns out, it is a popularity contest, in some cases a beauty contest, and you know, it is what it is.

“The people have spoken.”

Russell said that recent losses in his immediate family over the last year that had him traveling prevented him from being more present and able to campaign for the DCD role.

The Nov. 8 election will decide who fills the seat vacated by Mary Ellen Winborn, whose term ends Dec. 31.

Winborn, who had been working remotely from Mississippi, has been issued a restraining order from performing duties in the role. The county argued that she is ineligible to serve in the role since she canceled her voter registration in Clallam County in July.

Richard Meyer, a former code enforcement officer, has been named by Clallam County commissioners as interim DCD director.

Other races

Leading in the 6th Congressional District were Democrat Derek Kilmer of Gig Harbor, who as of Aug. 5 had 112,814 votes, or 50.7 percent overall, and Elizabeth Kreiselmaier, a Gig Harbor Republican, who had 54,428 votes, or 23.6 percent overall.

In the statewide race for a six-year term for U.S. Senator, Democrat Patty Murray, who’s held the seat since 1993, received 978,269 votes, or 52.6 percent overall, while the candidate out of the 18 who came in second was Republican Tiffany Smiley, who earned 622,430 votes, or 33.7 percent overall.

Final results for a two-year term for Washington Secretary of State, currently held by Democrat Steve Hobbs, will decide who replaces former Secretary of State Kim Wyman, who resigned to assist election security at the federal level. Leading by Friday was Hobbs, a Democrat now filling the role, with 730,082 votes, or 40.2 percent overall. In a far second place was independent Julie Anderson with 233,304 votes (12.9 percent), just head of Republican Keith Wagoner with 218,825 votes, or 12.1 percent, and Republican Bob Hagglund’s 216,906 votes, or 11.9 percent.

The Clallam County commissioner District 3 seat between incumbent Bill Peach of Forks, a Republican, and Mike French, a Democrat who is serving on the Port Angeles City Council, as well as the contest for the Jefferson County sheriff’s seat between incumbent Joe Nole and Art Frank, who are both Democrats, will be on the Nov. 8 ballot. After Monday’s count, Peach secured 3,818 votes to French’s 3,325, a 53.3-46.5 split. As of Friday, Nole earned a large win in the primary over Frank, with 9, 750 of the 13,611 votes (71.6 percent).

Several seats were uncontested.

See full Clallam County primary election results at clallam.net/Auditor/Elections.html.

Photo by Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News
Clallam County Elections Assistant Aspen Smith, left, and Elections Manager Susan Johnson examine contested ballots at the Clallam County Courthouse on Aug. 2.

Photo by Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News Clallam County Elections Assistant Aspen Smith, left, and Elections Manager Susan Johnson examine contested ballots at the Clallam County Courthouse on Aug. 2.