PORT ANGELES — Charlie McCaughan, Brendan Meyer and Nina Napiontek were leading in their respective races for Port Angeles City Council as of the second count of ballots.
The trio led their challengers — Doc Robinson, Martha Cunningham and Navarra Carr, respectively — after the Clallam County Auditor’s Office processed more than 3,000 general election ballots from city residents on Tuesday and Wednesday.
The voter turnout countywide after the second count Wednesday was 30.19 percent, with 16,270 ballots counted out of the 53,887 provided registered voters. The next ballot count is expected today.
McCaughan had more than 75 percent of the vote Wednesday to win the Position 5 seat being vacated by Michael Merideth, who did not seek re-election.
McCaughan had 2,315 votes to Robinson’s 726 votes as of Wednesday.
“I’m just really grateful,” McCaughan said.
“I never had any idea I would get that many votes. But I’ve been knocking doors campaigning, and I think it paid off. I’m just thankful.”
McCaughan was surrounded by his wife, Melanie, and other supporters when he received the results at the Clallam County Courthouse at about 8:20 p.m. Tuesday.
“I’m trying to get my head wrapped around it, because it’s a lot of work to do,” McCaughan said.
“The campaigning is very hard. This is my first election to go through. Now that I’m over that hump, the hard work starts.”
McCaughan, 63, is procurement and facilities supervisor at Clallam County Public Utilities District.
Robinson, 66, is executive director at Serenity House of Clallam County.
“To all who were willing to run, congratulations for showing up as a voice for our communities,” Robinson said in a Wednesday email.
“To all who won, congratulations and may your choices and decisions going forward be the best for our communities.”
Meyer was leading Cunningham by 110 votes Wednesday in the race for the Position 7 seat being vacated by third-term council member Cherie Kidd.
Meyer had 1,586 votes (51.6 percent) to Cunningham’s 1,476 votes (48 percent) after the second batch of ballots were counted Wednesday.
“It’s a low voter turnout,” Meyer said in a Wednesday interview.
“That’s a little disappointing, but that’s part of why I’m running.”
Meyer said he campaigned on community outreach and met with hundreds of city residents at farmers markets and elsewhere.
Meyer, 35, is a media marketer and consultant.
Cunningham, 67, is a freelance editor and substitute teacher.
Cunningham was not conceding the race Tuesday.
“I’ll just wait and see because not all the votes are in yet,” Cunningham said at the courthouse Tuesday night.
“There were a lot of late votes.”
In the closest City Council race, Napiontek was leading Carr by just 38 votes as of Wednesday.
Napiontek had 1,572 votes to Carr’s 1,534 votes, a 50.4 percent to 49.2 percent advantage.
“It’s definitely a close race,” Napiontek said before the second round of results were announced Wednesday.
“It can really go either way at this point. I’m really excited to see what the end result will be.”
Napiontek, 38, is a substitute teacher for Lower Elwha Head Start.
Carr, 27, is a development associate and office manager at the North Olympic Land Trust.
“I’m feeling very nervous about it,” Carr said earlier Wednesday when she and Napiontek were separated by 52 votes.
“It’s obviously very close.”
Napiontek and Carr are running for the Position 6 seat being vacated by Mayor Sissi Bruch, who is not seeking a third term.
“It’s been great getting to know Nina over the past couple months and talking about issues facing our community,” Carr said in a telephone interview.
Port Angeles City Council members approve a general operating budget that in 2019 is $117.5 million, half of which is public works and includes a city-owned electric utility.
The seven-member council levies taxes, adopts ordinances, approves contracts and serves on city, county and regional boards.
Council members earn a $550 monthly stipend and serve four-year terms.
The three new council members will take office in early January. They will join third-year council members Kate Dexter, Mike French, Jim Moran and Lindsey Schromen-Wawrin.
Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56450, or at [email protected].