Clallam primary: Moran-Negus, French-Oppelt lineup for Port Angeles City Council

PORT ANGELES — Voters narrowed down the choices for two Port Angeles City Council seats tonight and approved a sales tax increase to fund a Transportation Benefit District.

Jim Moran and Todd Negus appear headed for a Nov. 7 general election contest for the Position 1 council seat vacated by Brad Collins, while Mike French and Jacob Oppelt likely will vie for the Position 2 seat now held by Lee Whetham.

The initial count of votes from Jefferson and Clallam counties show Clallam-Jefferson Fire Protection District 3 incumbent Steven Chinn and challenger Sean Ryan headed for a Nov. 7 contest.

Primary races are among three candidates. In Washington state’s top-two primary, the two hopefuls for a seat who receive the highest number of votes go on to the general election.

Initial results of balloting in tonight’s primary election show Moran with 1,359 votes, or 45.87 percent, to Negus’ 1,018 votes, or 34.36 percent. Marolee Smith won 586 votes or 19.78 percent.

In the Position 2 seat race, French won 1,207 votes, or 39.41 percent, to Oppelt’s 1,052 votes, or 34.35 percent. Whetham won 804 votes, or 26.25 percent.

The Transportation Benefit District, which consists of Port Angeles City Council members, sought voter approval of a 0.2 percent retail sales tax increase to fund street projects. The measure needed only a simple majority for passage.

In tonight’s count, voters approved the district sales tax by 67.25 percent, with 2,136 voting in favor of it and 1,040, or 32.75 percent, opposed.

More votes will come in this week, although the Clallam County Auditor’s Office counted all it had on hand tonight.

The next count of ballots will be by 4:30 p.m. Friday.

In the primary race for Position 2 on the Fire District 3 commission, Chinn won 5,652 votes, or 79.82 percent, to Ryan’s 1,057 votes, or 14.93 percent, between the two counties. Porrazzo netted 372 votes, or 5.25 percent.

Chinn was the top choice in both Clallam and Jefferson counties. In Clallam County, he won 5,585 votes, or 79.84 percent, to Ryan’s 1,043 votes, or 14.91 percent. In Jefferson County, he garnered 67 votes, or 77.91 percent, to Ryan’s 14 votes, or 16.28 percent.

Robert Porrazzo won 367 votes, or 5.25 percent, in Clallam County and 5 votes, or 5.81 percent, in Jefferson County.

Some candidates named on the Clallam County primary election ballot had dropped out before the election, although not soon enough to keep their names off the ballot.

Bill Paul dropped out of the race for Forks City Council Position 3, which means Mike Gilstrap and Joe Soha will battle it out in the Nov. 7 election.

In the primary Gilstrap and Soha both won 94 votes, or 36.58 percent, while Paul, despite having withdrawn from the race, took 69 votes, or 26.85 percent.

Likewise, Allen Hunt withdrew from the race for the Position 1 seat on the Clallam Fire District 2 commission. That means incumbent Tom Martin and challenger Patricia Reienstahl will vie for the seat in November.

In the primary, Martin won 532 votes, or 45.51 percent, to Reienstahl’s 466 votes, or 39.86 percent. Hunt, despite dropping out, won 171 votes, or 14.63 percent.

Tonight, the Clallam County Auditor counted 11,767 ballots for a voter turnout of 25.34 percent out of the 46,434 ballots provided to eligible voters.

The Jefferson County Auditor’s Office counted a total of 7,217 ballots for a voter turnout of 29.59 percent of the 24,391 ballots provided voters.

Voters statewide had returned 655,336 ballots — or 17 percent — of the 3.8 million mailed as of 8 a.m. today, according to the Secretary of State’s Office at http://tinyurl.com/PDN-statestats.

Voters who received a notice that their signature does not match their voter registration record and voters who didn’t sign their ballot envelope are still able to return their cure notices to have their ballot counted until Aug. 14.