Forks race results: mayor, council, hospital

FORKS — Tim Fletcher appears to be Forks’ new mayor.

Fletcher led with 69.11 percent, or 255 votes, over his challenger, Ken Ayers, 58, who garnered 30.59 percent, or 114 votes, in the first count of ballots Tuesday night.

The next count of general election ballots will be by 4:30 p.m. today. There are about 2,305 ballots left to count. Election results will be certified Nov. 28.

Neither Fletcher nor Ayers returned repeated phone calls Wednesday.

“Unfortunately, I did not win tonight, but I want to thank all my supporters for [your] help, ideas and encouragement,” Ayers wrote on Facebook on Tuesday night.

Ayers is a retired intelligence analyst and was appointed to the Forks City Council in February 2016.

Joe Soha appeared to win the Position 3 seat on the Forks City Council with 61.05 percent of the vote, or 210 votes total.

“I’ll do my part and make sure the city will be ran as well as it can,” Soha said Wednesday. “I’m ready to put my time in and do what I can to serve Forks.”

His challenger, Mike Gilstrap, earned 38.95 percent of the vote, or 134 total votes.

Gilstrap said he is fine with Soha winning the position.

“I know Joe and Joe is a good guy,” he said.

But Gilstrap said he was “disgusted” with the low voter turnout in Forks. Voter turnout countywide was at 28.2 percent Tuesday night, and fewer than 400 people voted in Forks City Council elections.

“I’m disgusted with people not voting, and these are the same people who will go on and complain about the election,” he said. “To me, that is disgusting. I served 16 years in the military and put my life on the line [so people could vote].”

Gilstrap said he might consider running in the next election.

Bill Brager appeared to win the Position 4 seat on the City Council.

On Tuesday, he had 73.22 percent of the votes, or 257. His opponent, Bridgette Soha, who endorsed Brager last month, earned 26.78 percent of the vote, or 94 votes.

Bridgette Soha said when she registered as a candidate, she didn’t realize she would be running against Brager and that she hadn’t actively campaigned.

“I voted for him,” she said. “I would like to congratulate Bill on his win, and I look forward to him being part of the council.”

Brager did not return calls Wednesday.

The race for Hospital District 1 commissioner, Position 5 was close Tuesday night, but Gerald “Jerry” George, 74, led with 57.05 percent of the votes, or 433 votes total.

His opponent, 18-year-old Skyler DeMatties, earned 42.95 percent of the votes, or 326 votes.

DeMatties graduated from Forks High School and is currently enrolled at Central Washington University in Ellensburg.

“It ain’t over till it’s over,” George said, adding there are still many uncounted ballots. “They could change the results if they are all coming.”

He said he has never spoken to DeMatties and that he doesn’t know her. He said he was surprised by how close the race is.

“The fiduciary responsibility is quite demanding,” he said. “There’s a huge amount of information one must manage to be an effective board member.”

George had been appointed to the position when the board expanded to five positions, he said.

George said he would encourage young people to get involved with hospital activities, especially as baby boomers continue to age.

“The hospital is going to have a shift in demographics,” he said.

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Reporter Jesse Major can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56250, or at jmajor@peninsula dailynews.com.