One Port Angeles council race too close to call; Schromen-Wawrin takes large lead over Wojnowski

Travis Berglund

Travis Berglund

PORT ANGELES — Kate Dexter and Travis Berglund were separated by 37 votes in their race for a Port Angeles City Council seat after the Clallam County Auditor’s Office processed the first batch of election ballots Tuesday.

Dexter had 1,492 votes to Berglund’s 1,455 votes in a battle for Position 4. That’s a margin of 50.6 percent to 49.4 percent.

Meanwhile, Lindsey Schromen-Wawrin had a commanding 2,071-to-867-vote lead over Artur Wojnowski in their bids for City Council Position 3. That’s a difference of 70.5 percent to 29.5 percent.

Berglund, 34, was analyzing his chances of flipping Tuesday’s results when reached by phone Wednesday.

“It’s just too close to call,” said Berglund, a financial adviser and Port Angeles native.

“I think we’re both sitting and waiting until the next round comes out. To me, 37 is very, very close.”

Dexter, 44, could not be reached for comment Wednesday. She is a special projects coordinator who holds a master’s degree in public administration.

Clallam County Auditor Shoona Riggs said her office had about 2,300 ballots left to count Tuesday and that more would arrive this week.

The second count of ballots will be done by 4:30 p.m. today. The Auditor’s Office will be closed Friday for the Veterans Day holiday.

Berglund said he was hoping for a “positive surprise” today.

In uncontested City Council races, Mike French and Jim Moran had insurmountable leads on Jake Oppelt and Todd Negus, both of whom dropped out of the race after the deadline for removing their names from the ballot.

Schromen-Wawrin, Wojnowski, Dexter, French and Moran attended the first two hours of the Port Angeles City Council meeting Tuesday before moving to the nearby Clallam County Courthouse to receive the election results shortly after polls closed at 8 p.m.

Schromen-Wawrin, 38, described his apparent victory as a “strong mandate from the voters.”

He cited affordable housing as an issue that resonated during the campaign.

Schromen-Wawrin said he gained an “invaluable experience” going door to door speaking with voters in the weeks leading up to the election.

“I did a lot of campaigning,” said Schromen-Wawrin, a constitutional law attorney and Port Angeles native.

“I don’t think [Wojnowski] did that, and that makes a big difference.”

Wojnowski, 33, is a maintenance manager for a homeowners association and a general contractor who had never run for elected office.

“There’s a little bit of disappointment,” Wojnowski said of the results, “but I knew going in that I was going to be an underdog with a lot of challenges to overcome, to go against a local boy who has a pretty good pedigree.”

Wojnowski, a Chicago native, said he planned to focus on his work in the construction industry and would consider another bid for public office.

“This isn’t going to be the last that Port Angeles has heard of me,” Wojnowski said.

Schromen-Wawrin said he was “thankful” that Wojnowski ran for the same position and encouraged his opponent and the other candidates to stay involved in city government.

All of this year’s City Council candidates have been regular attendees at City Council meetings and work sessions.

“We can come in ready to go,” Schromen-Wawrin said.

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Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56450, or at rollikainen@peninsuladailynews.com.

 

Kate Dexter

Kate Dexter