Re-emerged Jefferson County sheriff’s candidate Stanko to undergo hip surgery

By Charlie Bermant
Peninsula Daily News

PORT TOWNSEND — After a five-week hiatus, Jefferson County sheriff’s candidate David Stanko is back in the race, but if he advances to the November primary, he will be moving slowly at first.

Stanko, one of three candidates running for the office in Tuesday’s top-two primary, scheduled hip-replacement surgery in Seattle for Wednesday and expects to be off his feet for about two weeks.

Running for sheriff along with Stanko, 66, are Wendy Davis, 47, of Port Ludlow, who received the Democratic Party’s endorsement, and Ken Przygocki, 63, of Chimacum, who is running with no party preference.

Two will advance to the Nov. 4 general election. In the top-two primary, the two who receive the most votes contend in the general election regardless of party preference.

The Jefferson County sheriff serves a four-year term. Current pay is $85,015 per year. Incumbent Tony Hernandez is not seeking re-election.

Stanko, a Port Townsend Democrat, declared for the office in May but suspended his campaign in June after failing to receive the endorsement from the Jefferson County Democratic Party.

His name remained on the ballot, and he said he would reconsider running if voters advanced him to the general election.

He contributed to the Peninsula Daily News’s Primary Election Voter Guide, published last month, but did not attend several candidate forums held while his campaign was suspended.

He re-entered the race July 22 after what he described as a “groundswell of letters and phone calls” urging him to reconsider his position.

Before then, thinking he was no longer a candidate, he scheduled the surgery.

During his recovery will be two major campaign opportunities: the Jefferson County Fair next weekend and the Aug. 17 community picnic in H.J. Carroll Park in Chimacum.

If Stanko advances to the general election, he will send his supporters to represent him at those events, “and if I’m not in the top two, it’s all moot,” he said.

During his time out of the race, the contents of controversial personnel files from both Davis’ and Przygocki’s former employers were reported.

Stanko’s personnel files are not available.

He retired as a lieutenant from the Fullerton, Calif., Police Department in 2004 after serving 27 years.

Records are shredded five years after a person leaves the department, according to current chief Dan Hughes.

Hughes, who said he was mentored by Stanko after joining the department as a cadet out of high school, praised Stanko’s record.

Stanko received the department’s Medal of Valor in 1991 and was designated its Safety Officer of the Year in 1996, Hughes said.

Stanko received the Medal of Valor after he interrupted a robbery in progress, then pursued the suspect, Hughes said, adding that several shots were fired.

Stanko, who was mostly without backup, managed to wound the suspect and take him into custody, Hughes said.

The Safety Officer of the Year honor was given to Stanko through a vote of members of the department, Hughes said.

“He was a great listener and had leadership qualities,” Hughes said of Stanko.

“He would collaborate with people and consider their positions before making a final decision.”

Stanko 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: August 02. 2014 5:57PM
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