McAleer defeats DelaBarre for Port of Port Angeles commissioner by almost 2-1 vote
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Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News
Colleen McAleer shows delight with early election returns at the county courthouse on Tuesday. Among those with her are her son, Jack Ellison, center, and nephew Mike McAleer.

By Paul Gottlieb
Peninsula Daily News

PORT ANGELES — Port of Port Angeles commissioner candidate Colleen McAleer was victorious over Del DelaBarre on Tuesday night after the first general election ballots were counted in the countywide race.

McAleer, 46, the port director of business development, had 8,606 votes, or 64.4 percent.

DelaBarre, 75, co-owner of an event services company, had 4,757 votes, or 35.6 percent.

McAleer, who was at the Clallam County courthouse when the results were produced a few minutes after 8 p.m., was ecstatic.

“I'm doing well, what do you think?” she said in a telephone interview.

“I was really excited. I'm really pleased with the results.

“I attribute it to the fact that I really had a lot of broad-based support from conservatives, from liberals, from folks who want better environmental stewardship, the tourism, marine trades, advanced manufacturing, you name it.”

DelaBarre, who had about 50 guests at his Sequim-area home on Election Night, said he thought the outcome would be closer.

“Good party, bad results,” he said.

“Let's face it, she did a great job," DelaBarre said of McAleer.

“Change is always difficult.

“My whole campaign was about the fact that there is a change in the [North Olympic] Peninsula, a change in the economy and the port has to get on board with it.

“It's hard to deal with the perception of looking backward.”

The county Auditor's Office counted 15,348 ballots, or 32.8 percent of the 46,668 ballots mailed to registered voters, with some 5,000 ballots left to be counted as of Tuesday night.

Those, plus ballots received Tuesday through Friday will be counted by 4:30 p.m. Friday. The next count after that would be Wednesday unless the Auditor's Office receives 500 or more ballots, in which case they will be counted earlier.

County Auditor Patty Rosand said she expects the final turnout to exceed 50 percent.

The election will be certified Nov. 26, when all results become final.

Rosand said earlier this week that candidates who hold leads of at least a 5 percentage points should give voters “a pretty good idea” of who the winners will be.

McAleer said she plans to quit her job at the port.

She will be sworn into her new position in January.

A former real estate broker, McAleer was hired in 2011 as the port's marketing and property manager and later was promoted to her present position.

She filed a whistle-blower complaint that prompted an internal investigation that was highly critical of the administration of former Executive Director Jeff Robb, though it was determined that no illegalities occurred during Robb's tenure.

Robb resigned in June and was immediately given the lesser job of port director of environmental affairs at the same $138,000 salary.

DelaBarre is the retired president of DelaBarre & Associates Inc., a Sequim-based program management consulting firm.

The port commission seat is now held by Paul McHugh, who was appointed to the position in late 2011 to fill the unexpired term of Jim McEntire, who had won election to the county Board of Commissioners.

McHugh suffered a defeat in the Aug. 6 primary, failing to advance to the general election.

McAleer gained 59.3 percent of the vote in the primary, or 4,003 votes, to DelaBarre's 25.2 percent, or 1,701 votes, and McHugh's 1,045 votes, or 15.5 percent.

Commissioners are eligible for $114 per day of service up to 96 days, or $10,944; a salary of $254 a month up to $13,992 annually and medical, dental, vision, long-term disability and life insurance.

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Senior Staff Writer Paul Gottlieb can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5060, or at paul.gottlieb@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: November 05. 2013 11:33PM
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