Biden takes lead in Clallam Democratic primary

Former vice president also ahead statewide

PORT ANGELES — Former Vice President Joe Biden won Clallam County over Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders in the Washington Democratic presidential primary election, according to initial counts.

But Michael Bloomberg and Elizabeth Warren also garnered double-digit totals in Tuesday’s election even though they, as well as Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar, had dropped out during the 20-day voting period.

Biden had 36.35 percent of the vote to Sanders’ 27.48 percent (5,476 votes-4,139 votes), Bloomberg’s 12.19 percent, Warren’s 11.05 percent, Buttigieg’s 5.88 percent and Klobuchar’s 4.06 percent, according to unofficial results.

Statewide, Biden took the lead over Sanders after additional results were posted Wednesday afternoon. Biden led by about 16,000 votes, 35.01 percent-33.62 percent (408,083 votes-391,880 votes).

Results could continue to change as ballots dropped in drop boxes Tuesday or those that might still be in the mail arrive at elections offices and are processed.

Warren was also leading Klobuchar statewide.

In Jefferson County, Sanders was edging Biden by 149 votes at the county level.

With 23,609 Clallam County ballots counted in the presidential primary, 8,000 more ballots were likely be counted Wednesday and today, interim election manager Damon Townsend said Wednesday.

There were 13,373 voters whose ballots had been counted as of Tuesday night in Democratic Party contest and 10,151 in the Republican contest, which included 131 write-ins.

Choices on the primary ballot included President Donald Trump as the lone candidate for Republicans.

“I saw at least two Mitt Romneys and two Bill Welds,” Townsend said of the write-ins.

Romney is the 2012 Republican nominee for president and Weld a former Massachusetts governor who is running against Trump but was not on the ballot.

Liz Bumgarner, chairwoman of Clallam County Democrats, said the results were intriguing because so many Democrats — 36.81 percent as of Tuesday night’s tally — voted for Bloomberg, Warren, Buttigieg and Klobuchar.

Some county Democrats felt like they wasted their votes, she said.

She said she was surprised Biden won, given how little effort he put in to campaigning in Washington.

“That says something about his reputation and the way people are feeling about who is the best person who will be able to beat Trump,” Bumgarner said.

County Republican Party Chairwoman Sue Forde, who filed for 24th District state Rep. Mike Chapman’s position Friday and announced her candidacy Wednesday, said it doesn’t matter who runs against Trump.

“I think Trump is going to beat whatever candidate the Democrats put up,” Forde said Wednesday.

Bumgarner said the county party will endorse whomever wins the primary.

Bumgarner said Warren’s recent interview with Rachel Maddow of MSNBC following Warren’s exit from the race — Warren has not endorsed Biden or Sanders — brought Bumgarner to tears.

“It was also sad for all of us who are women to kind of see her drop out and to see all the women drop out, but especially Elizabeth, because she had such a good heart and she was also quite brilliant,” she said.

“I like Joe Biden of course, I think everyone does, and I really respect Bernie Sanders, and I think a lot of his ideas are forward thinking.

“I wish we could get a combination of the two that’s a woman.”

Townsend said there were 10,227 “undervotes” in the Democratic Party balloting and 13,450 undervotes in the Republican Party balloting, with some questionable ballots still needing to be resolved.

Voters were given an opportunity to vote on two contests, he added.

“Therefore, every ballot will have an undervote on it.

“An undervote means that they didn’t fill in a bubble for that contest, which is exactly what it should be.”

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Senior Staff Writer Paul Gottlieb can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 55650, or at [email protected].

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