ELECTION — Bruch, Peach hold big leads in Clallam commissioner race
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Sissi Bruch shows delight in inital returns showing her leading her November opponent, Bill Peach (inset), in Tuesday night’s primary returns. —Photo by Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News

By Rob Ollikainen
Peninsula Daily News

PORT ANGELES — Clallam County commissioner candidates Sissi Bruch and Bill Peach are headed to a showdown in the general election after outperforming challenger Bryon Monohon in Tuesday's primary.

Bruch had 1,452 votes to Peach's 1,349 — 43.1 percent and 40.1 percent of the total, respectively — after the Clallam County Auditor's Office processed 3,366 ballots from District 3.

Monohon was a distant third with 565 votes, or 16.8 percent.

Only the registered voters in Clallam County District 3 voted for the two candidates who will appear on the November ballot for the county commissioner position.

The entire county will vote for retiring Commissioner Mike Doherty's replacement in the general election Nov. 4.

As of Tuesday, the Auditor's Office had received 25.7 percent of the 13,380 ballots sent to registered voters in Commissioner District 3, which stretches from Valley Creek in Port Angeles to the Pacific Ocean — including the entire West End.

Bruch, 54, is a current Port Angeles City Council member.

“It's wonderful news,” Bruch, a Democrat, said of the early returns.

She said she had no expectations going into the primary.

“To tell you the truth, I had no number in my mind going in,” said Bruch, while gathering with supporters at the Lower Elwha Klallam Heritage Center in Port Angeles.

“I'm really, really grateful, especially because I was not well known on the West End. I'm grateful for the team that worked so hard for me. I'm really, really happy.”

Peach, 59, is a retired Clallam County regional manager for Rayonier Inc.

When reached by phone at his West End home, Peach said he was “very, very happy” with the results.

“I think the numbers reflect people's views in terms of do they want to see proactive action,” the Forks Republican said.

“I think Monohon was pretty much in the middle, and I think a lot of people are maybe saying they would like to see action.”

With a background in forestry, Peach said “I know I can help” with respect to the recent announcement that Interfor has closed its mills in Beaver and Forks.

He added: “I just want to share that I appreciate all the people that have supported me.”

Monohon, 51, is the current mayor of Forks.

He said the results “certainly weren't what I was expecting.”

“It doesn't really matter one way or another,” Monohon said.

“It was a good experience. I'm glad I did it.”

Monohon stated no party preference when filing for the position.

“That just didn't seem to be the ticket,” he said, adding: “Onward and upward.”

County Auditor Patty Rosand said she expects to receive about 2,000 more ballots through the mail and the drop boxes outside Sequim, Forks and the Clallam County Courthouse in Port Angeles in the coming days.

The Auditor's Office will next count ballots on Friday.

A Clallam County commissioner earns $67,080 per year with a $60-per-month car allowance.

He or she passes a $32 million general fund budget and, sets a tax levy, approves county ordinances and serves on local, regional and statewide boards, among other duties.

Doherty, a longtime Democratic commissioner from Port Angeles, announced in May that he would not seek a fifth four-year term.

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Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5072, or at rollikainen@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: August 05. 2014 10:40PM
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