Richards takes early lead in primary election for Clallam County commission race

Democrat Ron Richards was the top choice in tonight’s initial count of votes in the primary election for the District 2 Clallam County commission race.

Peninsula Daily News

PORT ANGELES — Democrat Ron Richards was the top choice in tonight’s initial count of votes in the primary election for the District 2 Clallam County commission race.

He won 37.54 percent of the vote. Randy Johnson, who filed with no party preference, netted 24.77 percent of the vote, with Republican Gabe Rygaard winning 22.06 percent and Republican Maggie Roth taking 15.63 percent.

If the positions stay the same as more votes are counted this week in the all-mail election, Richards and Johnson will face off in the general election.

In Washington’s top-two primary, the two candidates who receive the most primary election votes advance to the November general election, regardless of party affiliation.

No incumbent is running. Democrat Mike Chapman decided to run for the 24th District Position 1 state representative position instead of seeking a fifth term on the county commission.

Thousands of votes are still on hand to be counted.

The Clallam County Auditor’s Office counted 10,941 ballots tonight out of 49,026 mailed to registered voters, for a voter turnout of 22.35 percent.

The number counted tonight is the amount received through Monday, said Auditor Shoona Riggs.

Another 3,416 came in Tuesday’s mail and more — perhaps a couple thousand — were retrieved from drop boxes, she said.

“A lot of ballots came in today,” Riggs said earlier today. “We had a lot of Election Day voters.”

And she expects a large number in the next day’s mail.

The next ballot count will be by 4:30 p.m. Friday, Riggs said.

Richards, 71, of Port Angeles, won 1,220 votes, or 37.54 percent.

Richards served in the county commission seat from 1976-80. He is a commercial fisherman.

Johnson, 73, of Port Angeles, won 805 votes, or 24.77 percent, in tonight’s count.

He is the former president of the timberland and wood products company Green Crow Corp. of Port Angeles and current chairman of the board.

Rygaard, 45, of Sequim, had 717 votes votes, or 22.06 percent.

His family-owned Rygaard Logging Inc. was featured on History Channel’s “Ax Men.” He is the owner of Ryfield Properties Inc., Port Angeles and of Penny Creek Quarry of Quilcene.

Roth, 62, of Port Angeles, had 508 votes, or 15.63 percent. She is a civil process server who ran unsuccessfully for Clallam County commissioner as a Republican in 2012 was who was elected to the county Charter Review Commission in 2014.

Ballots returns had been slow until Monday.

As of Friday, only 8,761 of the 49,004 registered voters who were sent ballots in the all-mail election had returned them, for a voter turnout of 17.88 percent in the primary election dominated by a plethora of state and regional races.

Several races on the primary ballot were “beauty contests,” meaning they were between only two candidates, and no matter what the primary outcome, both will be on the November ballot.

For more information on election outcomes, see the Clallam County Auditor’s website at http://tinyurl.com/PDN-clallamprimary and the Washington Secretary of State website at http://tinyurl.com/PDN-primaryresults.

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