PORT ANGELES — Clallam County elections officials counted 3,466 late-arriving primary ballots Thursday, raising voter turnout from 30.3 percent to 36.7 percent.
The new ballots had no impact on the winners and losers of the top-two primary in nine contested races throughout the county.
In the closest race, Sequim School Board candidates Kristi Schmeck and Virginia Sheppard solidified spots ahead of third-place finisher Rachel Tax. The top two vote-getters advance to the Nov. 2 general election.
Sheppard was ahead of Tax by 180 votes as of Thursday — she led by 134 Wednesday — in the deciding race for second place.
All told, Schmeck had 3,024 votes, or 28.9 percent, Sheppard had 2,981 votes, or 28.5 percent, Tax had 2,801 votes, or 26.8 percent, and Derek Huntington had 1,628 votes, or 15.6 percent, as of Thursday.
In a June 1 email to the Sequim Gazette, Schmeck said she was in the process of withdrawing her candidacy for the school board position due to personal reasons.
Her name, however, remained on the primary ballot and will be on the November ballot. She could not be reached for comment.
Both Clallam and Jefferson counties voted in the race. Clallam totals are: Schmeck, 2,992 votes, or 28.99 percent; Sheppard, 2,955 votes, or 28.63 percent; Tax, 2,759 votes, or 26.73 percent; and Huntington, 1,598 votes, or 15.48 percent.
The Sequim school board race and a Clallam County Fire District No. 3 commissioners’ race included about 150 Jefferson County voters in the Gardiner area.
As of Thursday, Sequim-based Fire District 3 commissioner candidates Jeff Nicholas had 6,201 votes, or 56.7 percent, and Duane Chamlee had 3,832 votes, or 35 percent, to advance to the general election. Sean Ryan was third with 870 votes, or 8 percent.
Clallam’s totals are: Nicholas, 6,120 votes, or 56.66 percent; Chamlee, 3,785 votes, or 35.04 percent; and Ryan, 860 votes, or 7.95 percent.
The Clallam County Auditor’s Office expected to count an unspecified number of remaining ballots by 4:30 p.m. Friday.
Results will be posted on the Clallam County website, www.clallam.net/Auditor/Elections.html.
Meanwhile, four sitting Port Angeles City Council members maintained the top spot in their respective primaries Thursday.
Appointed council member LaTrisha Suggs had 47.1 percent of the primary vote as of Thursday. She will face Veterans Health Administration program support assistant Adam Garcia, 41.1 percent, in the general election. John DeBoer with 11.6 percent was third in the primary.
One-term incumbent Mike French, 56.9 percent, will face retired U.S. Navy veteran John Madden, 35.6 percent, in the general election. Samantha Rodahl, 7.4 percent, was third in the primary.
One-term incumbent Lindsey Schromen-Wawrin, 41.5 percent, will face licensed massage therapist Jena Stamper, 37.3 percent, in the general election. Jason Thompson, 21.2 percent, was third in the primary.
One-term incumbent and Port Angeles Mayor Kate Dexter, 53.5 percent, will face retired veterinarian John Procter, 40.9 percent, in the general election. Jon Bruce, 5.5 percent, who left the race after his name was affixed to the ballot, was third.
In other contested races, Heather Jeffers, 56.8 percent, maintained her lead on Karen Rogers, 31.4 percent, and Steven Blackham, 11.7 percent, in a race for the Olympic Medical Center commissioners’ seat being vacated by longtime Commissioner Jim Leskinovitch.
U.S. Army veteran Clint Wood, 58.3 percent, was leading fellow Forks High School graduate Josef Echeita, 31.3 percent,in a contested race for Forks City Council. Barbara Neihouse was third in that race at 9.3 percent.
Mary Hebert, 34.6 percent, was leading Gabi Johnson, 32.9 percent, Jesse Charles, 26.3 percent, and Jean Stratton, 5.9 percent, in a four-person primary race for Port Angeles School Board.
Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at [email protected] dailynews.com.