PORT TOWNSEND — Kate Dean was voted into the Jefferson County commissioner District 1 seat with 66 percent of the vote against opponent Tim Thomas’ 33.8 percent.
A second count on Wednesday of ballots from Tuesday’s general election showed that Dean won 10,772 votes, or 66.2 percent of the 24,557 ballots provided registered voters, while Thomas won 5,507 votes, or 33.83 percent. Both are Port Townsend Democrats.
Some 1,600 ballots are left to count and will be counted by 4:30 p.m. today.
“I am very gratified and very grateful that my message resonated with voters,” Dean said.
Dean said her focus on helping working families in Jefferson County made her attractive to voters.
She added that the county might see some major changes in its priorities due to the outcome of the presidential election; however, she said she plans to make good on her campaign promise to make local government more accessible to county residents.
“That’ll be a first priority,” Dean said.
Dean will join Commissioners Kathleen Kler and David Sullivan. Sullivan, commissioner for District 2, ran unopposed in Tuesday’s election. Dean will replace Commissioner Phil Johnson, who decided not to run for re-election.
“We’re disappointed but you know, life moves on,” Thomas said. “She [Dean] knows what the issues are, so if she can move the county in the right direction, it’s still a win.
“Really, it doesn’t matter as long as we’re moving forward,” he added.
Thomas said he felt good about how he ran his campaign but said he wished there had been more press coverage of the public forums where candidates were able to debate the issues and take questions from the audience.
Thomas added that he expected a higher voter turnout. Jefferson County so far has had 77.8 percent voter turnout in this year’s election. That’s the third highest in the state, according to the Washington secretary of state website at www.sos.wa.gov.
Dean said she is proud to be part of a younger generation that is stepping up to serve in local politics and bring new issues to light.
Dean was endorsed by all three of the current county commissioners and the Jefferson County Democrats.
Jefferson County Editor/Reporter Cydney McFarland can be reached at 360-385-2335, ext. 55052, or at [email protected].