Contested election races grow to 10 in Clallam County

PORT ANGELES — The number of contested races in the Nov. 5 general election grew to 10 by 4:30 p.m. Thursday, with 4:30 p.m. today being the filing deadline for candidates.

Thirteen more candidates filed online or in person between 4:30 p.m. Wednesday and 4:30 p.m. Thursday, including five for the Clallam County Charter Review Commission.

That raised the total to 90 candidates and 53 elective offices they want to occupy.

Navarra Carr filed for the Port Angeles City Council position being vacated by Mayor Sissi Bruch, setting up the second contested race for three City Council seats. Nina Napiontek had filed for the position Tuesday.

An Aug. 6 primary election will narrow down offices with more than two candidates, other than the Charter Review Commission, to two candidates for the general election.

In-person filing at the Clallam County Auditor’s Office at the county Courthouse, 223 E. Fourth St., Port Angeles, is from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. today.

Candidates can file online until 4 p.m. today.

Information on open positions, voter registration and filing for candidacy is at clallam.net/Auditor/Elections.html.

Several incumbents filed between Wednesday and Thursday afternoons.

They included Sequim City Council member Jennifer States and Cape Flattery School Board members Tracey Rascon and LeAnne Fletcher.

Rascon and Fletcher became the third and fourth incumbents to file for the four open positions on the West End school board.

Crescent School Board member Susan Hopper also filed for re-election, as did Forks City Council member Juanita Weissenfels.

Also filing were incumbent county Parks and Recreation District (Sequim Aquatic Recreation Center) Commissioner Al Mundy and incumbent Quillayute Park and Recreation District Commissioner Gordon Gibbs.

New Charter Review Commission candidates are Alex Fane and Sue Erzen, Sequim-area District 1; Kraig Kyllo and Marolee Smith, Port Angeles-area District 2; and Nina Sarmiento, West End-Port-Angeles-area District 3.

That brought to 28 the number of candidates who want to be on the Charter Review Commission, which meets every five years to consider changes in the county charter.

There are five seats available in each of three districts, but as of 4:30 p.m. Thursday, District 1 has nine candidates, District 2 has 11 candidates and West End-Port Angeles-area District 3 has eight candidates, with all but Rod Fleck of Forks from the West End.

Port Angeles resident Norma Turner, a community activist and former Charter Review Commission member, recalled 76 residents filing for 15 available charter review commissioner positions. Another year it was 55.

The top five candidates in each district in the general election will serve on the 15-person commission. There is no primary.

Changes in the charter that have been approved by voters have included, in 2002, the election of a Department of Community Development director, and the election of county commissioners by district, not voters countywide.

Voters twice rejected charter review commission proposals to go back to an appointed DCD director, and it’s not a “high probability” to come up a third time, Turner predicted.

“It seems to be functioning as an elected DCD,” she said.

What hasn’t been determined is “what does it really mean in terms of their role and responsibility,” she said.

“If we decide we’re gong to have the only elected DCD director in the nation, we should clearly define their role in decision-making of an elected official and how does that intersect with the role that county commissioners have in making planning decision,” she said.

Making county commissioners elected only by district “is an issue worth revisiting,” she said.

Commissioners make decisions that affect voters in other districts, yet those voters do not decide on who will make those decisions, she said.

Turner said she can’t predict what changes will be proposed.

“It never ceases to amaze me what pops up, what’s in people’s minds on changing the charter,” she said.

“I still believe we review it too often.

“Imagine what the Constitution would look like if it was reviewed every five or 10 years.”

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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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