McAleer appears to keep port seat; incumbent takes 64 percent of initial vote to challenger’s 36 percent

Colleen McAleer

Colleen McAleer

PORT ANGELES — Colleen McAleer was in a celebratory mood tinged with relief Wednesday.

General election voting results as of Tuesday had her swamping opponent Michael Cobb in the countywide race for Sequim-area Position 1 Port of Port Angeles commissioner.

McAleer, 50, a one-term incumbent, was ahead 64 percent to 36 percent, or 8,237 votes to 4,721 votes, over Cobb.

“I was worried,” McAleer said.

More ballots today

The Clallam County Auditor’s Office will count at least 2,300 more ballots today.

McAleer said Cobb, 74, had not called her as of mid-day Wednesday to concede the race.

The two candidates did not speak Tuesday night at the county courthouse while they and scores of others awaited the results from the county Auditor’s Office.

McAleer arrived at the courthouse close to 8 p.m. Tuesday, when the polls closed, and Cobb left immediately after the results were handed out at about 8:15 p.m., McAleer said.

Cobb, a part-time senior sail-training instructor, did not return repeated calls for comment Wednesday.

He did post a one-sentence message on the election Wednesday morning on his Facebook page.

“Thank you to all who supported our campaign,” he said in the posting.

McAleer was concerned about the outcome of their contest “because there had been mischaracterizations of different facts, and I didn’t know if I had an opportunity to correct the record with enough people,” she said Wednesday.

“He said we gave $8.2 million to one company, which was not accurate,” McAleer said of the Composite Recycling Technology Center.

“We had a contract for $1.35 million, and the rest of the assets the port owned.

“We are leasing them to the CRTC over time, and we will get market rent.

“I didn’t like that.”

The campaign “didn’t get dirty or ugly,” she said.

“I just think he continued to mischaracterize different issues.”

The $1.35 million from the port to the CRTC was for 2015-17 that went directly to the CRTC under a contract for economic development services.

The building that houses the CRTC, which cost about $1.5 million to construct in 2010-11 with mostly port but some city of Port Angeles funds, was a shell with a dirt floor when it was designated for CRTC purposes.

It was upgraded for the CRTC and Peninsula College with $4 million in county, state and federal grants.

The port committed about $300,000 for bid alternatives including solar panels and a solar hot-water system, totaling $4.3 million in upgrades for the facility and equaling $5.8 million in total costs for the building.

The port allocation to the CRTC for the building does not include cash and in-kind funds that cover the time port staff spent on CRTC-related activities.

McAleer said Cobb was endorsed by Clallam County Democrats for the nonpartisan position.

“I was also worried because it became a partisan position, and I am an independent voter,” she said. “This is not or should not be a partisan issue.”

McAleer said she was proud of her endorsement by the North Olympic Group chapter of the Sierra Club, which has members in Clallam and Jefferson counties, and of area businesses.

“It was very meaningful to me that we can do both: provide and support a strong economy while being responsible environmental stewards,” she said.

The port commissioner position pays a $245-per-month salary, or $2,940 a year.

It also pays $114 per day for port meetings and other business for up to 96 days, or up to $10,944 a year.

Commissioners and their eligible dependents receive the same medical insurance as port employees.

The three port commissioners decide on an annual operating budget that in 2017 is $8.96 million.

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Senior Staff Writer Paul Gottlieb can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 55650, or at pgottlieb@peninsuladailynews.com.

 

Michael Cobb

Michael Cobb