Incumbent leads in Clallam commissioner race

PORT ANGELES — Incumbent Clallam County commissioner Mike Doherty is headed for a showdown in the general election, but his opponent remains to be seen.

Doherty, a Port Angeles Democrat and third-term commissioner for District 3, was running away with the three-man race on Tuesday.

Doherty garnered 1,839 votes, or 49.8 percent, of 3,691 ballots counted in the District 3 all-mail primary election. Ballots were sent only to registered voters living in the district.

Robin Poole, a Beaver Republican and UPS driver, took 984 votes, or 26.7 percent, of the early votes.

Bill Peach, a Forks Republican and executive director of the Quileute tribe, had 868 votes, or 23.5 percent, in the early returns.

The two candidates with the highest number of votes advance to the Nov. 2 general election as they seek a four-year term in the post that will pay $61,000 next year.

Ballots received after Monday will be counted on Friday.

Countywide, the Clallam County Auditor’s Office counted 16,457 ballots Tuesday night out of 45,817 ballots mailed, bringing Election Day voter turnout to 35.9 percent.

“I expect tomorrow and Thursday to be large counts as well,” Rosand said Tuesday night.

She predicted a 50 percent turnout countywide when all is said and done.

The District 3 commissioner represents the western third of Clallam County.

None of the candidates were present as Rosand distributed the early results at the Clallam County Courthouse at 8:06 p.m.

Doherty, 67, traditionally avoids the courthouse on election night, choosing instead to remove his campaign signs.

Doherty said he was “pleasantly pleased” with his lead because his opponents had an early start on their campaigns.

“I’m grateful to voters in the 3rd District,” Doherty said.

“We’re pretty busy with challenges in local government budgets. That will keep me busy for the next few months.”

Doherty is also on a state budget advisory committee that Gov. Chris Gregoire assembled to address the budget crisis in Olympia.

While his opponents have said that Doherty, who lives in west Port Angeles, is out of touch with the issues confronting the west side of the county, Doherty has maintained that he visits the West End at least twice a week and meets with residents.

“The 3rd District represents every possible political philosophy,” he said.

Poole, 61, was at home in Beaver when he found out he was in second place.

“That’s good news,” he said.

“I was hoping to be in second. I thought I had a legitimate change to be in the primary to get my message out there.”

Peach, 54, said he would be driving between Port Angeles and Forks when the results were made available. He could not be reached for comment late Tuesday.

Clallam County commissioners oversee a $90 million total budget and a $33 million operating budget.

County lawmakers also serve as an appeals board for land-use issues, and they serve individually as board representatives on various local, regional and state boards and committees.

Final results of the primary election will be certified on Sept. 1.

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Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at 360-417-3537 or at rob.ollikainen@peninsuladailynews.com.

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