By Joe Smillie
Peninsula Daily News
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Tharinger, 65, topped Tuesday night's initial returns in the race for 24th District state representative with 58 percent of the vote across the district to Greisamer's 35 percent and Sequim Libertarian Dr. Stafford Conway's 8 percent.
With the “top two” primary system, Tharinger and Greisamer will vie for the seat in November's general election.
Greisemer said he wanted the chance to debate Tharinger more between now and November.
“You set it up and I'll be there with bells on,” Greisamer said.
“I don't even know if I'll get to debate him. All we've had is these forums where he gets to say whatever he wants and I never get the chance to challenge what he says.”
Tharinger, the Dungeness Democrat who has served two terms as the district's Position 2 representative and previously served as a Clallam County commissioner from 2000 to 2012, did not return repeated phone calls for comment.
Though Conway polled just a single-digit percentage of the vote, he felt his campaign introduced his Libertarian ideals to a segment of the voters.
“I was actually looking to see if people were ready for a change. It appears they're not totally ready to give up the Republicans and Democrats,” Conway said.
“But I'm totally excited about the number. I think it's huge the Liberterian Party got 8 percent.”
Tharinger pulled a total of 13,351 votes from the district, with Greisamer receiving 8,176 and Conway 1,783.
In Clallam County, Tharinger received 53 percent of the vote with 7,624 ballots cast his way, with
Greisamer receiving 5,619 votes for 39 percent and Conway 1,168 votes for 8 percent.
Tharinger received 65 percent of the Jefferson County vote with 5,907 votes, followed by Greisamer with 2,557 votes for 28 percent and Conway for 615 votes for 7 percent.
Rep. Kevin Van De Wege, D-Sequim, was unopposed and will serve another term in the Legislature.
Van De Wege received 16,155 of the district's 23,490 votes in Tuesday's primary.
In Clallam County, Van De Wege received 9,447 votes for 100 percent.
Jefferson County voters gave him 6,708 votes for 97 percent.
The Clallam County Auditor's Office had received 14,670 ballots as of Tuesday, out of 47,133 Clallam County voters registered for this election, an election night turnout of 31.12 percent.
Clallam County Auditor Patty Rosand said Tuesday her office planned to count all ballots on hand Tuesday night.
Jefferson County Auditor Donna Eldridge said that 9,639 ballots were in the original Tuesday night count.
Eldridge estimated 300 ballots were on hand but not included in Tuesday's count.
Rosand and Eldridge each expected to receive about 2,000 more ballots that will be included in their next counts Friday.
Sequim-Dungeness Valley Editor Joe Smillie can be reached at 360-681-2390, ext. 5052, or at email@example.com.