Voters choose two candidates for Clallam County commissioner general election

PORT ANGELES — Democrat Mike Doherty will face off against incumbent Bill Peach, a Republican, as they vie for the District 3 seat on the Clallam County Board of County Commissioners during the Nov. 6 general election.

After the initial count of primary ballots Tuesday night, Doherty won 1,937 votes, or 48.06 percent, to the 1,804 votes, or 44.76 percent, won by Peach, who is seeking his second term as West End-Port Angeles-area commissioner.

On Tuesday, 19,122 ballots were counted out of 51,833 provided to registered voters for a 36.89 percent turnout.

More ballots will be counted by 4:30 p.m. Friday.

“To everyone who voted, I appreciate them,” Doherty said when reached by phone Wednesday. “Now I just have to earn their trust in the second half of the election here.”

Doherty is a former four-term county commissioner who did not seek re-election to the four-year seat in 2014.

Peach did not return calls for comment Wednesday.

Dale Wilson, who registered with no party preference, had 289 votes, or 7.17 percent.

“I’m kind of relieved that it’s over,” Wilson said Wednesday. “I gave it my best and came up short. I have no regrets.”

Wilson said he would encourage his supporters to vote for Doherty in the general election in November.

He also suggested voters elect Selinda Barkhuis, who is challenging incumbent Mark Nichols for his position as county prosecuting attorney.

Nichols had 9,982 votes, or 56.85 percent, to the 7,578 votes, or 43.15 percent, for Barkhuis, a nonpracticing lawyer and former county treasurer, in the initial count of ballots Tuesday.

“I was in several candidate forums and [Doherty] just makes more sense,” Wilson said.

“He has a deeper grasp, has a more open concept of what is going to be necessary to face some of the challenges we have ahead. We need to have someone with a grasp of the problems.”

Doherty said he hopes the campaign moving forward will be more issue oriented and he plans to rely on his previous experience as a commissioner.

“I’ll just keep reminding people when I was a commissioner I was a very active commissioner in all the small communities,” he said. “I was in those communities a lot.”

Doherty said he was surprised to learn Peach had loaned himself $20,000 for his campaign.

Peach told the Peninsula Daily News previously that he loaned his campaign $20,000 in May, but didn’t report the contribution to the state Public Disclosure Commission until Friday, after he talked to a reporter about campaign contributions.

“He was intending to spend some money on this campaign and here we are using our used signs from the past,” Doherty said. “That could be why I like candidate forums and getting out in front of voters. It’s a little less expensive.”

District 3 includes precincts on the west end of Port Angeles and extends to the coast. Only voters living within District 3 could vote in the race.

Doherty had the strongest support in the Port Angeles area, but also won the Neah Bay and the Freshwater Bay precincts.

Nearly half of Doherty’s votes came from voters within the Port Angeles city limits. Port Angeles voters accounted for 47 percent of Doherty’s total votes, while Port Angeles voters accounted for 34 percent of Peach’s votes.

Peach earned 1,183 votes from voters who live outside Port Angeles, about 16 percent more than the 1,017 votes Doherty earned outside Port Angeles.

Doherty said he’s not reading too far into the precinct results and that he’s going to wait until all the votes are counted in November.

________

Reporter Jesse Major can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56250, or at [email protected].