Thousands more ballots to tally for Primary election

Peninsula News Network


Clallam County, WA - Several thousand more ballots remain to be counted before the Primary election results are final. But the drama for at least one race has been cranked up a notch by the votes that have been counted so far.

Election observers were unsure what would happen in this first confrontation between incumbent Clallam County Commissioner Steve Tharinger and his GOP challenger Sue Forde. That’s because Forde had stayed almost entirely out of the political spotlight, debating the incumbent only once and turning down requests for interviews and other appearances. Instead, she relied on yard signs and door belling, and has turned that it into a 500 vote lead over Tharinger. However, that’s just a first count of about 12,000 ballots with another 5,000 or so remaining to be tallied. So we’ll have to wait and see what the final margins are as these two head to the final runoff in the November General election.


The early results have also made it pretty clear that it will be Rob Robertson and Bob Martin running off for the new position of Clallam County Department of Community Development Director.

The newly elected position was created when voters approved an amendment to the county’s Home Rule Charter last fall.

Robertson, the retired county building official and fire marshal, used his support from realtors and the building trades to pick up nearly 40% of the vote in the three-way race. Martin, who has been the appointed DCD Director for the past several years, came in second with the initial count, while John Miller, the Executive Director for the Lower Elwha tribe, appears to have been sidelined with his third place finished.


Participation slows in second year of vote-by-mail

The “turnout” or response to the second year of using the vote-by-mail system was lukewarm at best, with a little less than 43% of the ballots having been returned through election day. That’s just over 17,000 of the 40,000 ballots that were mailed to the county’s registered voters in late August.

By comparison, that’s about 3600 votes less than last year’s primary on the same date, when the turnout hit over 53%. It should be pointed out that almost 1100 more ballots were sent to voters this year, so that effects that percentage somewhat.

Also, there was only a single countywide race on the ballot this September, as compared to a more complex and interesting ballot for voters last year.


More local news...

Governor Gary Locke is promising that a debate over dirt won’t hold up construction over the Port Angeles graving dock project.

The Departments of Ecology and Transportation have locked horns over how to dispose of dirt excavated from the Marine Drive property. DOE maintains the dirt is contaminated and can’t be given a simple disposal at a gravel pit west of town.

Representative Jim Buck, who got into the middle of the dispute 2 weeks ago, tells the Peninsula Daily News that Locke has been brought up to speed on the facts in the case, and is saying the differences between the two agencies won’t be allowed to hinder the project.

Construction of the graving dock has been halted since mid-August, not because of the contaminated dirt issue, but because of concern over Native American remains found on the site.


The Port Angeles city council has declined a formal request to take another look at the decision to fluoridate the city’s water supply.

The Clallam County Citizens for Safe Drinking Water formed last Spring, after the city voted 6-to-1 in favor of fluoridation.

However, the group has continued to apply pressure over the issue, which is expected to emerge as one of the questions we’ll hear about in this fall’s city council elections.

Tuesday night the group presented the council with a petition asking the city to reconsider the decision with the names of more than 1400 residents. But council members simply received the petition without comment.

The city is still on a course to fluoridate Port Angeles water by the end of the year.


The City of Port Angeles is going to hire a Tacoma firm to help keep the 8th Street bridges in working condition, until the city can find money to replace the spans.

For almost 20 years now, the city has been inspecting and repairing the bridges on an annual basis, and trying to figure out where to come up with the millions of dollars it will take to replace the spans.

Last year, the bridges were chosen for an 80% funding match from the Federal Bridge Replacement program, and hired an Olympia engineering firm to work on designing the new bridges, and finding the rest of money for replacement.

Tuesday night, the city council approved a contract with General Construction Company of Tacoma for $30,000 dollars to help make repairs to keep the bridge’s open, and safe, until replacement can occur.


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