PORT TOWNSEND — Joe Nole, who is now a detective in the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, looks forward to addressing the issues for which he criticized his boss, Sheriff Dave Stanko, during a campaign that led to Stanko’s resounding defeat election night.
Nole, 62, of Chimacum, had 11,762 votes, or 61.95 percent, to Stanko’s 7,225 votes, or 38.05 percent after the second count of ballots on Wednesday and the initial count Tuesday night.
As of Wednesday, the Auditor’s Office had counted 19,973 ballots of the 25,411 mailed to voters in the countywide election, a 78.6 percent turnout.
More ballots will be counted by 4 p.m. Friday, but could be counted earlier depending on volume, county Elections Coordinator Betty Johnson said.
Nole, a Democrat, had won 37 of 39 precincts, losing only the Port Ludlow 3 and Hoh precincts to Stanko, a former Democrat who registered with no party preference, and generating heavy support in Port Townsend.
“It’s just with the way the department was going and the treatment of the employees, people realized what was going on and voted accordingly, and here we are,” Nole said of Stanko, 70, who at candidate forums said he had demoted Nole from undersheriff.
“When we started out together, things were so good, and we had high hopes and expectations, and the rest became history,” Nole said.
“At this point, I don’t think there is any love lost.”
Nole said as of Wednesday, morale already had improved in the Sheriff’s Office.
“Today is a whole different atmosphere,” he said.
Nole plans to keep in closer touch with employees than Stanko did, he said.
“Being there, knowing what they are doing, showing you care about what they are doing, that goes a long way,” Nole said.
On Tuesday, the morning of Election Day, Stanko sent out an email to employees announcing that he would be on vacation beginning Wednesday and that he had appointed Undersheriff Art Frank as acting sheriff.
Stanko, who lives in Port Townsend, did not say in the email when he will return.
On Tuesday night, he sent Nole an email saying, “Congrats. I wish you well.”
“I appreciate our democracy and election process,” Stanko, 70, of Port Townsend said Wednesday in an interview.
He said he would not do anything differently if he had the campaign to do over again, including running a newspaper advertisement that provided a link to Noel’s job performance evaluation.
Stanko said the information was public record.
“I’m very proud of my team and how they just told the truth and stayed above the fray,” he said.
“I have no regrets, no regrets at all.”
Nole said he also will focus on hiring employees to fill vacancies.
He will no longer accept funding from Operation Stonegarden, a federal Department of Homeland Security program that pays for patrols that assist Border Patrol operations.
But a main focus will be “kind of getting the morale built back up and people doing their jobs and handling day to day things has they come up,” Nole said.
“All the other agencies have their priorities, too.
“It’s incumbent on all of us, everyone in the county, to share the wealth and make the county a good place for everyone,” Nole said.
“That’s something that was lacking in the previous administration.”
Senior Staff Writer Paul Gottlieb can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 55650, or at [email protected].