Contests already in place as candidate filing week opens in Clallam County

By Leah Leach
Peninsula Daily News

Some races already have shaped up for this year’s elections as the candidate filing period begins today.

The online and in-person filing period for 34 positions in Clallam County will end Friday. Filing by mail began in April.

If more than two people file for a race, they will face off in the Aug. 5 primary election, and the two who get the most votes will vie in the Nov. 4 general election.

Contests have formed so far for a Clallam County commissioner’s seat and the position of Community Development Director — the only such position in the nation that is elected rather than appointed.

The Clallam County Auditor lists 22 positions on the ballot, which does not take into account that fact that five people will be elected to each of the three county commission districts for the Charter Review Commission.

Fifteen people will be elected to the Charter Review Commission. There are 11 other county positions up for election this year.

The 6th Congressional District seat now held by Derek Kilmer, D-Gig Harbor, and the two 24th Legislative District seats now held by Sequim Democrats Kevin Van De Wege and Steve Tharinger, also are on the ballot this year, as is a Court of Appeals position now held by Joyce Robin Hunt and four state Supreme Court seats.

County commission

On the eve of filings week, the race for the Clallam County commission seat now held by Mike Doherty looks like it could shape up between Bill Peach of Forks and Doherty or Peach and Port Angeles City Councilwoman Sissi Bruch.

Peach, 58, a Republican living in Forks, has announced he intends to run in his second attempt to win the $67,189 District 3 seat.

Bruch, 54, a Democrat serving her first term on the Port Angeles council and senior planner for the Lower Elwha Klallam tribe, said she will file for the post, but will withdraw if Doherty, also a Democrat, puts in a bid for a fifth four-year term.

Doherty, 71, said last week that he had not decided if he would run again, adding that he typically waits until filing week to find out who else is running before he makes a decision.

Peach, who is a retired Rayonier forester and a Quillayute Valley Parks and Recreation District commissioner, challenged Doherty and fellow Republican Robin V. Poole to represent the district in 2010. He lost to Poole in the primary election that year.

CDC director

Community Development Director Sheila Roark Miller, 55, of Sequim has opposition in her bid for re-election from Mary Ellen Winborn, owner of Winborn Architects of Port Angeles.

Miller was elected in 2010 with 53.5 percent of the vote against incumbent John Miller, no relation.

She was the subject of an investigation over a backdated permit and morale in 2013. The Attorney General found no reason to file charges and although Doherty urged a review of allegations, the other two county commissioners said they concurred with the AG and with Prosecuting Attorney William Payne that the commissioner had “no more role” in the investigation of an elected official.

Winborn, 54, said she decided to seek the position because she disagrees with the way Roark Miller has run the department. She added she will give up her business whether she wins or not.

Roark Miller’s 2014 salary is $74,520.55. If she is re-elected, her 2015 salary will be $77,918.82. If someone else is elected, the 2015 salary would be $70,590.44.

Incumbents ready to run

Two incumbents, Sheriff Bill Benedict and Clallam County District Court 1 Judge Rick Porter, have announced they will seek re-election, with no challengers having announced.

Porter, 55, will seek a fourth four-year term as Clallam County District Court 1 judge.

The Port Angeles man was first elected in 2002.

He said he will not accept campaign contributions or endorsements from lawyers, the county bar association or “any other special interests” in his quest to secure the $148,881-a-year position.

Benedict, 63, of Sequim, will seek a third term, he said last month.

He was first elected in 2006 and ran unopposed in 2010.

The position pay $97,200 per year.


Payne, 57, who was appointed to the prosecuting attorney position in January, has said he intends to run for election to the $127,302-per-year post.

Fellow Republican Mark Nichols, who also interviewed for the position, said then that he was considering running but has not announced one way or the other.

Nichols, who served as acting prosecutor between Jan. 1 and Jan. 27 after Deb Kelly resigned from the post Dec. 31, resigned as chief deputy prosecuting attorney after Payne was named and was appointed county hearings examiner and court commissioner,

Clallam County District 2 Judge John Doherty has not said if he will run.

He was serving as the Quileute Tribal Court judge in LaPush when he was appointed to serve the remainder of Erik Rohrer’s term on the Forks bench in 2012.

Rohrer had defeated county Hearing Examiner Chris Melly to replace retiring Ken Williams on the Superior Court bench.

Auditor’s position

Auditor Patty Rosand will not seek re-election. Elections Supervisor Shoona Riggs, 41, of Port Angeles announced her intention to run for the $71,854 position on Wednesday, the same day her boss, Auditor Patty Rosand, announced her plans to retire Dec. 31.

Other county seats on the ballot are those held by Treasurer Selinda Barkhuis, Assessor Pam Rushton and Clallam County Public Utility District Commissioner Hugh Haffner.

All are four-year terms except for Haffner’s seat, which is six years.

Charter review

Clallam County is one of six counties in the state that operate under a home-rule charter, unlike most Washington counties where procedures are dictated by the Legislature.

Clallam County’s charter, adopted by voters in 1976, allows it to change requirements for county operations beyond those required by the state. Changes, however, must comply with state law.

Charter Commissioners are elected every eight years, according to the present provision in the charter, and serve for one year.

Five commissioners will be elected from each of the three county commissioner districts.

District 1 extends from the eastern county line to Boyce Road in Carlsborg. District 2 is the area between Boyce Road and Valley Creek in Port Angeles. District 3 covers the West End, beginning at Valley Creek.

No filing fee applies to charter review position candidates.

Kilmer, who would not tell the Peninsula Daily News last month if he has decided to run for re-election, had $1.21 million on hand at the end of March, the People for Derek Kilmer reported.

No opposition had announced as of Sunday.


Managing Editor/News Leah Leach can be reached at 360-417-3531 or at

Reporters Paul Gottlieb, Rob Ollikainen and Jeremy Schwartz contributed to this story.

Last modified: May 11. 2014 7:07PM
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