Chair: Jefferson County Democrats see increased participation

Marty Gilmore

Marty Gilmore

PORT TOWNSEND — The Jefferson County Democrats are seeing an uptick in participation, said the newly elected chairman.

Former Vice Chair Marty Gilmore, who was elected chairman April 11, said the organization is now up to 700 dues-paying members.

Gilmore said participation in meetings has been higher than he has seen before.

“We’ve had really big meetings,” Gilmore said. “The January meeting was the biggest by far, but [Tuesday night’s] meeting, we had 100 to 125 people, which is more than we’ve seen in the past.”

Celeste Bennett, who ran unopposed, was unanimously elected vice chair Tuesday night.

When Gilmore was elected, he won all but one vote from precinct committee officers.

That single vote went to Bennett, who withdrew from the race for chair and endorsed Gilmore just days before the election.

According to Gilmore, Bennett withdrew after finding out she needed to move from her current rental because the landlord was putting it up for sale.

While the two did run against each other for a number of weeks, Gilmore said the race wasn’t heated.

“We both ran on unifying the party and moving forward after last year’s election,” Gilmore said. “She and I actually get along well, and we were basically running on the same position rather than against each other.”

Gilmore, who has been a member of the Jefferson County Democrats for two years, said it’s up to the local party to keep people interested.

“Whether this level of participation will continue is up to us,” Gilmore said.

In the 2016 general election, the county voted overwhelmingly for Hilary Clinton with 12,656 votes to now-President Donald Trump’s 6,037.

All three county commissioner seats are also held by Democrats.

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Jefferson County Editor/Reporter Cydney McFarland can be reached at 360-385-2335, ext. 55052, or at cmcfarland@ peninsuladailynews.com.

Celeste Bennett

Celeste Bennett

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