PORT ANGELES — Incumbent Mark Ozias was winning the race against Sequim City Council member Brandon Janisse for the Sequim-area District 1 position on the Clallam County Board of County Commissioners after the initial count of general election ballots.
Ozias, a Democrat, was not declaring victory Wednesday, after earning 3,385 votes Tuesday night, compared to Republican Janisse’s 2,975 votes. That’s 53.08 percent to 46.65 percent.
“I’m pleased with the results and am looking forward to the next count,” Ozias said. “I’d rather wait to declare victory after more of the votes are counted, but I’m feeling good about how I’m positioned at this point.”
According to the Clallam County Auditor’s Office, some 3,034 ballots remain to be counted but it wasn’t clear how many of those are in District 1.
The auditor planned another count of ballots in the all-mail election late Wednesday. Those totals are not reflected here because of press deadlines.
On Tuesday, 13,234 ballots were counted out of 53,887 provided registered voters, for a voter turnout of 24.56 percent.
Still, Janisse said Wednesday that he is hopeful he can make up the 410-vote deficit. Janisse is not conceding.
“Anything could happen,” Janisse said. “Four hundred is not that hard to make up, especially if there’s 3,000 left to count.”
Ozias campaigned more actively than Janisse, spending a total of $5,182 on his re-election campaign and participating in more forums.
Janisse selected the “mini reporting option,” according to the Public Disclosure Commission. Because he spent less than $5,000 he is not required to report contributions to the state.
Ozias said there’s nothing he would have done differently, but he wishes Janisse would have participated in more forums.
The only forum both candidates participated in was an Aug. 13 Port Angeles Business Association forum.
“Voters didn’t get much of a chance to hear in person about the contrast and differences, because after our first debate he didn’t attend any debates and forums,” Ozias said. “It was an odd campaign.”
Ozias said that a KONP forum was canceled twice because Janisse was unavailable, that Janisse declined to attend a Sequim Sunrise Rotary forum. Forums held by the League of Women Voters and the North Peninsula Builders Association turned into question-and-answer sessions because only Ozias showed up.
“If there’s something I wish would have happened, I wish voters would have had a chance to hear us together,” Ozias said. “We took opportunities to get our message out there, but there’s nothing that replaces those opportunities to hear from the candidates in person and see how we respond to questions.”
Janisse, a control-room technician in the Clallam County jail, said he was unable to attend those forums because he was busy working.
He said he had someone read a statement from him during the League of Women Voters forum, which he coudn’t attend because his shift at work ended after the start of the forum.
Both candidates agreed the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe’s planned Healing Campus in Sequim was the top issue in their campaigns.
Ozias’ top campaign contribution was from the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe, which contributed $1,000.
Ozias supported the tribe’s efforts early in the campaign. Janisse took a firm stance against the proposal publicly later in the campaign.
At the forum in August, a day after Janisse voted in favor of a moratorium aimed at the Healing Campus, Janisse said he had to remain neutral on the issue, but that he supported medication-assisted treatment (MAT), a stance he took in the Peninsula Daily News’ voter guide.
In October, Janisse said Sequim is not the right place for the facility.
“Obviously the MAT was the biggest issue,” Janisse said. “I tried to make [the campaign] not only specifically about that.”
Janisse said he plans to call Ozias once the election results become more clear.
Janisse said the campaign went well on both sides.
“There was obviously disagreements on the issues, but it was civil all the way around,” Janisse said.
Reporter Jesse Major can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56250, or at [email protected].