Nine races on Tuesday’s primary election ballot

Clallam County turnout 22 percent so far

PORT ANGELES — Turnout of slightly more than one of every five eligible voters is about what Clallam County Auditor Shoona Riggs expects as the 20-day primary election enters its final phase.

“We are right about on schedule,” Riggs said Friday.

“We’ll probably get more over the weekend and will ramp back up on Monday and Tuesday, and Wednesday will be the bulk of the Election Day mail.”

Primary election ballots must be postmarked by 8 p.m. Tuesday or at the auditor’s office or in drop boxes throughout the county by that time.

Riggs is expecting a ballot surge Monday that will peak Wednesday, when mailed ballots start to arrive and drop-box contents are delivered.

Ballots were mailed July 14 to 54,413 voters for nine primary election races.

Elections office staff checked signatures on 788 ballots received Friday, Riggs said.

Clallam had a 21.79 percent turnout as of Friday afternoon, the eighth-highest turnout among 37 counties with primary elections in the state and tied with Island and Okanogan counties.

A breakdown can be found at sos.wa.gov.

Statewide turnout was 14.2 percent.

Columbia County, with 937 registered voters, had 39.8 percent voter participation as of Friday, the top turnout among counties with primaries.

While there are no countywide races in Clallam County, the Hospital District 2 contest for a six-year, at-large Olympic Medical Center commissioner seat being vacated by longtime Commissioner Jim Leskinovitch comes closest to that mark.

Hospital district boundaries stretch from the county line at Blyn westward through Port Angeles and Sequim to Beaver north of Forks.

More than 52,000 voters will decide in the primary on two finalists for the Nov. 2 general election.

Running are Steve Blackham, OMC’s retired clinical laboratory director; Heather Jeffers, Avamere Olympic Rehabilitation of Sequim administrator and an unsuccessful 2013 candidate for the hospital board; and Karen Rogers, a consultant, a former Port Angeles City Council member and the city’s former council-appointed mayor.

Four Port Angeles City Council races are on the ballot, all featuring challengers to incumbents.

The race for the short and full-term, four-year Position 1 seat pits appointed incumbent LaTrisha Suggs, a Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe restoration planner, against challengers Adam Garcia, a Veterans Administration program support assistant, and John DeBoer, a former COVID-19 social distancing center manager and homeless-population advocate.

Position 2 incumbent Mike French, owner of the First Street Haven restaurant, is fending off challenges from contractor John Madden and Peninsula Behavioral Health residential aide Samantha Rohdal.

Lindsey Schromen-Wawrin, a private practice constitutional lawyer, is defending his Position 3 seat against Jason Thompson, Fogtown Coffee bar owner and manager of McCrorie Carpet One, and Jena Stamper, a licensed massage therapist and co-owner of Boulevard Natural Wellness Center.

Position 4 incumbent Kate Dexter, the appointed mayor and a Peninsula College nursing program specialist, and John Procter, a retired veterinarian, are virtually guaranteed to be general election opponents. They have the primary election field to themselves after candidate Jon Bruce dropped out of the race too late to exit the ballot.

Procter or Dexter will claim bragging rights heading into the general election.

Vying for Port Angeles School Board Position 2 are Mary Hebert, a former Port Angeles School District principal and assistant superintendent of schools; Jean Stratton, a former librarian and former director of two nonprofit agencies; Jesse Charles, a youth social worker and director of the countywide mental health program Healthy Transitions; and Gabi Johnson, who works full-time for her family’s Arrow Marine Services and has five children in the Port Angeles School District.

Sequim School District Position 4 candidates are Derek Huntington, Virginia R. Sheppard and Rachel Tax, and they are vying for the position being vacated by Brandino Gibson. Candidate Kristi Schmeck has dropped out of the race.

Running for a Forks City Council Position 2 seat being vacated by John Hillcar are Clinton Wood, Barbara Neihouse and Josef Echeita.

Jeff Nicholas, Duane Chamlee and Sean Ryan are running for a six-year Fire District 3, Position 1 seat held by Michael Gawley, who is not seeking re-election.

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Senior Staff Writer Paul Gottlieb can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 55650, or at pgottlieb@peninsuladailynews.com.

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