By Charlie Bermant
Peninsula Daily News
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Davis, a Democrat, won 3,700 votes, or 40.36 percent.
Fellow Democrat Dave Stanko won 2,783 votes, or 30.36 percent, followed closely by Ken Przygocki with 2,643 votes, or 28.83 percent.
With only 140 votes separating Stanko and Przygocki, Jefferson County Auditor Donna Eldridge said the race was too close to call, although she said it was probable that Davis will advance to the Nov. 4 general election.
“I’m very happy with the vote,” Davis said. “I plan to move ahead, talk to more voters and show them what I can bring to the table.
“At this point it’s all about staying positive and moving forward.”
Said Stanko: “It’s pretty close. I got a lot of support and encouragement from people in the community who encouraged me to stay in the race.
“If I make it into the general election, I will run long and hard and become a great sheriff for Jefferson County.”
Przygocki,who filed with no party preference, said Tuesday night that he will have no comment until the election is certified.
The two candidates with the most votes will advance to the November election.
The Jefferson County Auditor counted 9,639 ballots out of 22,851 mailed to registered voters for an Election Night turnout of 42 percent.
A total of 300 ballots was on hand but uncounted Tuesday. Auditor Donna M. Eldridge expects about 2,000 ballots to come in by mail this week and predicts a total turnout of 55 percent to 57 percent.
The next count is scheduled for noon Friday but could take place on Thursday because of close margins in the sheriff’s race, Eldridge said.
Davis, 47, of Port Ludlow is a former member of the Bremerton and Poulsbo police departments and is now a human resources officer for Port Ludlow Associates.
Przygocki, 63, of Chimacum is a retired State Patrol sergeant who is now working as a security specialist.
Stanko, 66, is a retired lieutenant for the Fullerton Police Department in California.
The four-year position earns an annual salary of $85,015, which may be increased on Jan. 1, at which point it would be 56 percent of the yet to be determined Superior Court judge’s salary if the increase is approved by the county commissioners.
The race began in earnest in April, when incumbent Democratic Sheriff Tony Hernandez announced that he would not run for a second full term.
The Democratic Party was caught by surprise by Hernandez’s announcement, according to to its chairman George Yount, and set out to recruit candidates to run for the position.
The party successfully vetted Stanko and Davis, who both filed for the position and forced a primary contest.
At a June 10 meeting, the Democratic Party endorsed Davis over Stanko.
Stanko suspended his campaign, saying that he had expected the party’s endorsement and when it did not materialize he chose not to continue.
Davis and Przygocki appeared at a series of candidate forums.
Both called for more active community policing and better communication with the public as well as use of portable cameras to increase accountability.
Personnel files figured in the campaign.
Davis was twice recommended for termination by her superiors in the Poulsbo Police Department, where she served first as deputy chief and then as a sergeant. Those recommendations were overruled by Mayor Becky Erickson.
Davis had revealed a personal relationship with Sgt. Andy Pate, one of three sergeants under her supervision. The two plan to wed once her divorce is final.
Przygocki was under investigation by the State Patrol’s Office of Professional Standards when he retired March 30, 2012, the Peninsula Daily News reported in May.
That was the same day the Chimacum resident signed an agreement with the State Patrol under which he would have had to resign three days later April 2, according to State Patrol records.
Przygocki, who was then stationed at State Patrol’s Mill Creek post, was under investigation for allegedly lying to his superior about being at a Feb. 28, 2012, court hearing and was questioned about four hours of overtime.
Przygocki has said he did nothing wrong.
Stanko did not appear at any candidate forums and re-entered the race July 22 after they had concluded.
Stanko said that he had been urged to re-enter after the questions about the other candidates’ pasts emerged.
He had already scheduled hip replacement surgery for today and is expected to be out of commission for eight to 10 days.
If he pulls ahead at the next count, Stanko said he plans to send a team out to this weekend’s Jefferson County Fair to campaign.
Jefferson County Editor Charlie Bermant can be reached at 360-385-2335 or firstname.lastname@example.org.