Withdrawn candidate puts himself back in Jefferson County Sheriff’s race

By Charlie Bermant
Peninsula Daily News

PORT TOWNSEND — A candidate who withdrew from the Jefferson County Sheriff’s race is back in the competition.

“Due to lots of community input given to me, I have reactivated my campaign,” Dave Stanko said Monday.

“I’ve received an outpouring of letters urging me to get back into the race, so that’s what I’m going to do.”

Despite his withdrawal, Stanko’s name remains on the Aug. 5 primary ballot.

Stanko, 66, suspended his campaign after members of the county Democratic Party voted June 10 to endorse fellow Democrat Wendy Davis, 47, for the position.

Despite urging by Democrats to stay in the race, Stanko decided to suspend his campaign partially because he expected the endorsement but also because he didn’t want to spend any more of his own money.

“I’d already spent $7,000, and to continue would be an uphill battle,” he said.

Also on the ballot for the sheriff’s race is Ken Przygocki, 63, a retired State Patrol officer who filed with no party affiliation.

One candidate will be eliminated in the primary, and the top two will move on to the Nov. 4 general election.

Stanko acknowledges that he is at a disadvantage, as he declined participation in several candidate forums where the issues were discussed.

Stanko said that he received several calls to re-enter the race after stories critical of both Przygocki and Davis appeared in local newspapers.

On Monday, he said he plans to reactivate his campaign website at www.davestankoforsheriff.com, put up his campaign signs and attempt to communicate his goals for the department to the public.

Stanko said that he hopes to earn accreditation for the department and set up a community panel that would help to develop a model for the office to adequately serve all the county’s residents.

He’s undecided about the establishment of an undersheriff, an idea that both of his opponents have endorsed.

“I will look at that idea, but I think it’s most important to develop a leaner administration and get more deputies on the street,” he said.

When Stanko first announced his candidacy, he was endorsed by Clallam County Sheriff Bill Benedict, who restated that endorsement Monday.

“There are some problems with the other candidates’ backgrounds, and Dave would be a refreshing alternative,” Benedict said.

“Jefferson County is a medium-size police agency with a jail, and Dave has the most relevant experience to run that kind of department.”

Stanko retired as a lieutenant from the Fullerton, Calif., Police Department in 2004 after serving 27 years and was selected the 2012 Business Leader of the Year by the Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce.

He is past president of Port Townsend Rotary, a driver for Ecumenical Christian Helping Hands Organization and a participant in the work of the Community Outreach Association Shelter Team at the Port Townsend homeless shelter.

He is also a member of the United Good Neighbors board of directors and a member of Calvary Church.

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Jefferson County Editor Charlie Bermant can be reached at 360-385-2335 or cbermant@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: July 21. 2014 6:57PM
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