PORT ANGELES — Incumbent Connie Beauvais of Joyce appeared to be on her way to a third term as the District 3 representative on the Port of Port Angeles commission based on the first two ballot counts in the Clallam County Auditor’s Office.
Beauvais led challenger Lee Whetham of Port Angeles 11,685 votes to 9,503 after a second count on Wednesday, a roughly 55.01 percent to 44.74 percent margin.
“I’m still waiting for the final outcome,” Beauvais said, “but I’m very pleased with the numbers so far and don’t expect them to change much.”
Beauvais said that running for office gave her an opportunity to talk about the port and what it did, something she enjoyed doing.
“For me it is vitally important to share the good work that the port has done for the public, and to let them know about the economic growth we’re looking forward to, because it is the public’s port,” she said.
Whetham said he had not called Beauvais to concede, although he acknowledged it was unlikely subsequent vote counts would change the results. He said he was nonetheless pleased with the chance to campaign for the restoration of commercial, recreational and tribal fishing in the Elwha River.
“I want to thank all the civic groups that invited us both to appear,” Whetham said. “I appreciate the opportunity to spread my message to the greater Olympic Peninsula.”
Whetham said he had already received calls from his supporters asking him to consider running for the seat held by 24th District state Sen. Kevin Van De Wege, who has launched a campaign to become Washington’s next commissioner of public lands. Whetham said he was not going to make any commitments regarding running for public office again.
“Never say never,” Whetham said.
Beauvais said she looked forward to seeing through the port’s projects scheduled for 2024, particularly completion of the Marine Trade Center, saying it would enable current tenants to expand their footprint and attract new ones. Refocusing the business of the log yard — now called the intermodal handling and transfer facility — was another step the port had taken to capture revenue.
“We’re looking to the future to be able to move cargo efficiently in the future and be greener about it because the timber industry has been greatly reduced over the years,” Beauvais said. “It’s always been the port’s bread and butter, and for about the last decade or so we’ve really had to look to our other lines of business.”
Beauvais first joined the port commission after defeating Michael Breidenbach in the 2015 general election. She defeated challenger Maury Modin in 2019 to retain her seat.
Reporter Paula Hunt can be reached at email@example.com.