Clallam County District Court 2 race too close to call

PORT ANGELES — In the closest Clallam County election contest in recent memory, Forks-area attorney John Black and Superior Court Judge Erik Rohrer were separated by four votes in their race to become the next District Court 2 judge.

Black had 627 votes to Rohrer’s 623 votes after the Clallam County Auditor’s Office counted the first batch of general election ballots Tuesday.

That’s a difference of 50.16 percent to 49.84 percent.

Late-arriving West End ballots will tip the scales when the Auditor’s Office conducts the next count by 4:30 p.m. Friday.

“It’s turned into quite a race,” Black said in a Wednesday interview. “I’m really pleased with what we’ve got so far.”

“I suppose it could go either way, but I think I’ve got the momentum,” he added.

Forks-based District Court 2 has jurisdiction from the west side of Lake Crescent to the Pacific Ocean. Only West End voters cast a ballot in the District Court 2 race.

Incumbent District Court Judge John Doherty did not seek re-election for the four-year, part-time position.

Black, 67, is a private attorney with offices in Port Angeles and Forks.

Rohrer, 60, is a former District Court 2 judge and current Clallam County Superior Court judge.

He could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

Rohrer has said he would resign from the Superior Court bench with two years left on his term if elected to back to the District Court bench.

Gov. Jay Inslee would name a replacement Superior Court judge until the 2020 election.

Black and Rohrer both reside in the Forks area.

“I think the West End community has spoken,” Black said.

“I think they make it real clear that they want to see some change out here.”

As of Tuesday’s count, Black was ahead in the two Forks precincts and the Quileute precinct.

Rohrer was ahead in the Beaver, Bogachiel, Clallam Bay, Neah Bay and Sun precincts, according to the Auditor’s Office.

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Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56450, or at [email protected] dailynews.com.

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