PORT ANGELES — Olympic Medical Center board candidates Ann Marie Henninger and incumbent Jean Hordyk easily won their races for Positions 1 and 2 in Districts 1 and 2, respectively, according to early ballot returns.
Henninger easily defeated opponent, Nate Adkisson, in the Position 1 race in District 1 for Hospital District 2 Commissioner, according to the initial count of votes in the general election.
Henninger earned 7,120 votes to Adkisson’s 3,777, or 65.13 percent to 34.55 percent of the 10,932 ballots counted in the race Tuesday evening.
Hordyk defeated opponent Ted Bowen in the Position 2 race in District 2 by an even greater margin.
Hordyk earned 7,388 votes to Bowen’s 3,184 votes, or 69.54 percent to 29.97 percent of the 10,624 ballots counted Tuesday.
The Clallam County Auditor’s Office planned another count of ballots in the all-mail election late Wednesday. Those totals are not reflected here because of press deadlines.
The voter turnout countywide after the initial count Tuesday was 24.56 percent, with 13,234 ballots counted out of the 53,887 provided registered voters.
“I’m gratified, humbled and thrilled all at once,” Henninger said of the results. “I’m very grateful and excited. It was a good race.”
Henninger said her opponent, Adkisson, ran a clean campaign, but she thinks it was her health care experience and her understanding of the board that helped her secure the win.
Adkisson did not return calls for comment Wednesday. Henninger said he sent her a congratulatory email.
Henninger is a registered nurse and said she has attended many OMC board meetings. She will replace John Beitzel, who did not seek re-election.
Henninger said she focused her campaign on opioids, treatment for substance-use disorder, access to health care, workforce recruitment, advocacy and fighting the federal government’s cuts to Medicare reimbursements at off-site clinics.
“I learned a lot and I’m excited to get installed in January and hit the ground running,” Henninger said. “I’m really pleased to have run this race with Nate. He was a good candidate and I appreciated our cordiality and our respect.”
Hordyk said she is ready for her fifth six-year term on the board.
“I’m just honored and thankful for the voters and I hope I can live up to their expectations,” she said following the hospital board meeting Wednesday. “It’s just a privilege. It’s exciting and I’m ready for the challenge, because it’s going to be a big one.”
Hordyk described the campaign against Bowen as “uneventful,” but said Bowen was a gentleman throughout the campaign. She thanked him for “throwing in his hat.”
“He felt for the hospital,” she said. “I hope he continues and considers it next time.”
Bowen said Wednesday that despite losing the election, he felt good about how the campaign went and said the hospital is still in good hands. He was not surprised Hordyk won and he suspects it was her experience that swayed voters.
Bowen said it is likely he’ll run for public office again, though he hasn’t decided whether to wait for another spot on the hospital board.
He said the most surprising part of the campaign was seeing how few people either knew that Olympic Medical Center had a public board of commissioners or what the board’s responsibilities are.
“What I found interesting while campaigning is that people didn’t know what it was and a lot of people didn’t understand what the position was,” he said. “I educated the best I could. I don’t know that there’s enough who are informed about the commission.”
Bowen said he hopes the board listens to the hospital staff and focus on wellness.
“I think [the hospital] is in good hands,” Bowen said. “They are heading in the right direction and I hope everything works out.”
Reporter Jesse Major can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56250, or at [email protected].