By Charlie Bermant
Peninsula Daily News
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Davis’ advancement to the Nov. 4 general election race was assured Tuesday night in the first count of top-two primary election ballots, but the contest between the two other candidates was too close to call.
A second count of ballots Wednesday in the all-mail election widened the margin enough to determine who would oppose Davis, according to Auditor Donna Eldridge.
After counting an additional 1,816 votes, Eldridge predicted that Stanko would advance to the general election “because there aren’t enough votes left to close the gap.”
In the latest vote count, Davis, 47, won 4,381 votes, or 40.19 percent, followed by Stanko, 66, with 3,427 votes, or 31.44 percent, and Ken Przygocki, 63, with 3,048 votes or 27.96 percent.
In the top-two primary, the two candidates with the most votes advance to the November general election.
Davis, a Port Ludlow resident, and Stanko of Cape George are Democrats. Przygocki, a Chimacum resident, filed with no party preference.
After Wednesday’s count, the auditor had received 11,455 votes out of 22,878 cast, a voter participation level of 50.07 percent.
Eldridge has 35 votes in hand that have not been counted and expects about 150 votes to arrive before the next count, scheduled for noon Friday.
Eldridge added an additional count Wednesday since the sheriff’s race was so close “and the candidates need to get ready for [this weekend’s Jefferson County] Fair.”
The vote count also showed that Kathleen Kler and Dan Toepper were the top two candidates in the District 3 county commissioner’s contest and will move on to the general election.
Kler, 64, a Quilcene Democrat, had 1.627 votes, or 45.41 percent, followed by Toepper, 54, of Port Ludlow, who filed with no party preference and who had 787 votes, or 21.96 percent.
Disqualified were Alexander “Andy” Borgeson, 45, a Port Ludlow independent who took 530 votes, or 17.24 percent, and Joe Baisch, 66, a Brinnon resident who earned 455 votes, or 14.8 percent. Baisch filed with no party preference.
Only registered voters in District 3 voted in the primary. The November election will be countywide.
After Wednesday’s count, challengers Kenneth Collins and Anthony F. “Tony” De Leo maintained their lead over incumbent Ken McMillen for a seat on the Jefferson County Public Utility District commission.
Collins, 67, of Nordland received 1,411 votes, or 44.94 percent, while De Leo, 65, of Port Hadlock won 930 votes, or 29.9 percent.
McMillen, 81, of Port Hadlock trailed with 790 votes, or 25.16 percent, and apparently has been eliminated from the general election.
A property tax levy for the Brinnon Fire Department has passed by 59.14 percent, but fire district officials aren’t ready to celebrate yet.
While Wednesday’s second count of ballots showed the measure maintained a nearly 20 percent margin of support, the party will wait until after the election is certified Aug. 19, said Lt. Curtis Lightner, the fire department’s spokesman in matters relating to the levy.
On Wednesday, the count showed 330 votes for the levy, or 59.14 percent, and 228 votes against, or 40.86 percent, out of a total of 558 votes counted.
The current measure requires a simple majority of 50 percent to pass.
Democratic incumbent 24th District state Rep. Steve Tharinger of Sequim and Republican challenger Thomas W. Greisamer of Moclips remained headed for the general election, according to votes tabulated by the state Secretary of State’s Office as of late Wednesday afternoon.
Tharinger had 17,788 votes, or 58 percent, to Greisamer’s 10,618 votes, or 35 percent, with Stafford Conway of Sequim a distant third with 2,359 votes, or 8 percent.
Incumbent Democrat Derek Kilmer and challenger Republican Marty McClendon, both of Gig Harbor, remained the top two vote-getters in the race for the 6th District congressional seat, which includes the North Olympic Peninsula.
Kilmer, a Port Angeles native, had 68,754 votes districtwide, or 59 percent; McClendon had 39,758 votes, or 34 percent; Green Party candidate Doug Milholland of Port Townsend had 4,226 votes, or 4 percent; and W. (Greybeard) McPherson of Port Angeles had 4,091 votes, or 3.5 percent.
Davis said her campaign will focus on services the Sheriff’s Office can provide.
“I will concentrate on the issues that most affect people, such as mental health, domestic violence and sexual assault,” she said, adding that residents also are concerned about drug activity.
Stanko wants to see the Sheriff’s Office more involved in the community.
“We need to be effective in our response to emergency calls, and the deputies need to be more engaged,” he said.
Stanko, who retired as a lieutenant from the Fullerton Police Department in California, said he intends to run “long and hard” but will need to stay off his feet for about 10 days after hip-replacement surgery Wednesday.
Przygocki, a retired State Patrol sergeant who is now working as a security specialist, has said he will have no comment until the election is certified Aug. 19.
Davis is a former member of the Bremerton and Poulsbo police departments and is now a human resources officer for Port Ludlow Associates.
Both Kler and Toepper said they have prepared for the campaign by attending meetings and observing the county commissioners.
Kler said government doesn’t always communicate well with the public.
“If information isn’t shared, it results in a lot of frustration on the part of the public, who aren’t getting what they need to understand the issues,” Kler said.
Toepper said the main issues will be the economy, the environment and marijuana.
“I think the No. 1 issue will concern marijuana,” Toepper said. “Regardless of which way they voted [on Initative 502], a lot of people are wondering which way it’s going to go and what effect it will have.”
Jefferson County Editor Charlie Bermant can be reached at 360-385-2335 or firstname.lastname@example.org.