PORT TOWNSEND — Incumbent Pete Hanke apparently will keep his seat as a commissioner for the Port of Port Townsend after winning 62 percent of the vote against Keith Beck in Tuesday’s election, while Brad Clinefelter was headed toward being unseated by Bill Putney in a tight race.
“I’m glad I won,” said Hanke on Wednesday.
“I got to know Keith, and it sounds like sometime in the future, he could run again and I think he’d be a great candidate,” Hanke said.
Beck said he plans to be active in the community and with the port.
“It was a wonderful election,” Beck said. “I thought I did pretty good for being brand-new at the politics stuff.”
Beck said he plans to run for port commissioner again.
“I guess I’ll be back in four years and run a better campaign now that I know how to play the game,” Beck said.
In the initial vote count, Hanke held 62.08 percent of the vote, or 5,531 votes, with challenger Beck winning 37.92 percent, or 3,379 votes, for the District 3 seat.
In the contest for the District 2 seat, Putney won 52.34 percent of the vote, or 4,837 votes, to Clinefelter’s 47.66 percent, or 4,404 votes, in Tuesday’s initial count. Putney is leading by 433 votes.
“I’m pleased with the result,” Putney said. “I anticipated it would be a tight race. It’s fairly difficult to unseat an incumbent, and we worked really hard. I’m just glad it came out on the right side of close.”
Clinefelter did not respond to calls for comment Wednesday.
A second count of ballots is planned today.
Hanke said probably the biggest effort for the port will be balancing the budget.
“I think there’s a pretty high priority to make the port fiscally responsible,” Hanke said. “That’ll be our main goal going forward.”
Hanke said the first step likely will be a new strategic plan for the port.
“The current plan is out of date,” he said.
Putney also said getting the port financially stable was a priority.
“There are still a lot of maintenance issues to be dealt with and a lot of financial issues to be dealt with,” Putney said. “I’m planning to start making a list of income opportunities for the port.”
Putney said some of those opportunities should be working with businesses in the maritime industry. He said he has some concerns that the port’s current direction could hurt those in the maritime trades locally.
Jefferson County Editor/Reporter Cydney McFarland can be reached at 360-385-2335, ext. 55052, or at [email protected].