Contested races form for Port of Port Townsend

PORT TOWNSEND — Two contested races have shaped up on the Port of Port Townsend commission, with incumbents for both open positions filing for re-election Tuesday afternoon.

Incumbent Brad Clinefelter faces a challenge from Bill Putney for the District 2 seat, while incumbent Peter Hanke is challenged by Keith Beck of Brinnon.

Candidate filing week for Nov. 7 general election candidates began Monday and ends Friday.

If three or more candidates file for any position, the race will be on the Aug. 1 primary ballot, with the top two vote-getters going to general election.

“We have a highly confident and strong administration in place right now,” Clinefelter said. “I want to continue to be a part of that and see what we can do to make our ports more profitable.”

Clinefelter retired from his position at Kinder Morgan Bulk Terminals Inc. in 2008 and moved to Marrowstone Island. Before working for Kinder Morgan, Clinefelter spent multiple years in maritime industries including maritime construction, captaining a tug boat and managing a cargo loading/unloading facility.

Clinefelter graduated from the Northwest School of Wooden Boat Building in 2009.

“The long and the short of it is, I want to focus the port’s resources on more revenue streams,” said Putney, who filed Monday.

“The port is in a hard financial place, and I don’t see how they can continue to raise rates on their current tenants.”

Putney ran against Clinefelter for the District 2 position in 2014 and lost.

Putney said he wants to focus on the development of port properties in Districts 2 and 3, which he said have been under-utilized.

Putney is retired. He volunteers as the chief engineer for KPTZ.

District 3 incumbent Hanke runs Puget Sound Express, a passenger ferry and whale watching company that is a current tenant of the Port of Port Townsend’s Point Hudson Marina.

Hanke couldn’t be reached Tuesday for a comment on his filing for re-election.

Beck is the fifth generation of his family to live in Brinnon. He worked as a tug boat captain for just under 20 years and currently helps with two family businesses in Quilcene.

“I live in this district, and I figure I can do a good job in representing south Jefferson County,” Beck said.

Beck said this is his first time running for office but he wanted to run to help his community. He currently volunteers with the Quilcene School District.

Also on Tuesday, Sarah Martin filed for re-election as Chimacum School District director for District 1. That race is currently uncontested.

Casey Carson filed for re-election to Position 1 on the Discovery Bay Fire District commission. Jodi Riker filed for Position 1 on the Clallam-Jefferson Fire Protection District commission. Both are currently uncontested races.

Dennis Schmitt also filed for re-election as the only candidate so far for Position 2 on the Coyle-Thorndyke Park and Recreation District commission.

Fifty-four offices are on the ballot in Jefferson County. Two Sequim School Board positions, two Quillayute Valley School Board positions, three Fire District 1 seats and one Fire District 3 seat are also on the Clallam County ballot.

Candidates can file for election to offices in Jefferson County at the Jefferson County Auditor’s Office at the county courthouse at 1820 Jefferson St.

They also can file online through 4 p.m. Friday at


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

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