PORT ANGELES — Bruce Emery and Cherie Kidd are headed for a faceoff in the general midterm elections come November after coming out on top in the four-way primary race for the Clallam County Department of Community Development director position.
Clallam is the only county in the nation where the Department of Community Development (DCD) director is an elected rather than appointed position.
Bruce Emery, a former planner for the DCD, received 6,132 votes, or 31.3 percent, after a second count of Tuesday’s primary election ballots on Wednesday.
Former Port Angeles Mayor Cherie Kidd received 5,678 votes, or 29 percent.
Jesse Major, a public records analyst with Clallam County and former code enforcement officer as well as a former reporter for the Peninsula Daily News, received 4,586 votes, or 23.4 percent.
Kevin Russell, twice the former president of the North Peninsula Builders, received 3,015 votes, or 15.4 percent.
The next count of ballots in the all-mail election will be today.
Said Emery: “Well, naturally I am pleased with how things turned out. I was a little surprised by the results but expected to have a strong showing.”
“I spent a lot of time doorbelling and reaching out to the voters and believe they responded with support for my message that experienced, professional leadership is needed at the head of the DCD,” Emery said Wednesday.
“I look forward to continuing with that message and the opportunity to help resolve some of our current challenges, such as affordable housing, fostering economic development, finding efficiencies in the permitting process, and reestablishing good working relations with the Board of County Commissioners,” Emery said.
Said Kidd: “I am happy, honored and humbled and looking forward to November.
“I’m ready to focus on providing leadership and building teamwork in the DCD.”
Major said the results were “obviously not how I thought it was going to turn out, but the support I have received has been great and I am thankful to everyone who has helped me along the way.
“Last night (Tuesday) I congratulated Cherie and Bruce at the courthouse.”
Russell said he was disappointed.
“Frankly, I’m more disappointed for all my supporters,” he said. “Elections are elections. As I said when I was politicking, this isn’t a popularity contest, this is a job interview. But as it turns out, it is a popularity contest, in some cases a beauty contest, and you know, it is what it is.
“The people have spoken.”
Russell said that recent losses in his immediate family over the last year that had him traveling prevented him from being more present and able to campaign for the DCD role.
The Nov. 8 election will decide who fills the seat vacated by Mary Ellen Winborn, whose term ends Dec. 31.
Winborn, who had been working remotely from Mississippi, has been issued a restraining order from performing duties in the role. The county argued that she is ineligible to serve in the role since she canceled her voter registration in Clallam County in July.
Richard Meyer, a former code enforcement officer, has been named by Clallam County commissioners as interim DCD director.
Reporter Ken Park can be reached at [email protected].