Mike Gilstrap won the race for Forks City Council Position 5. (Jesse Major/Peninsula Daily News)

Mike Gilstrap won the race for Forks City Council Position 5. (Jesse Major/Peninsula Daily News)

Gilstrap headed for seat on Forks City Council

Comments on low voter turnout

FORKS — Forks City Council candidate Mike Gilstrap was a disappointed winner Wednesday.

With 3,000 more votes countywide to tally by the Clallam County Auditor’s Office as of Wednesday, Gilstrap’s opponent, Danny Smith, had congratulated him on out-polling Smith 53.4 percent to 46.07 percent, or by 102 to 88 votes.

“I feel it’s a good thing,” Gilstrap, 47, said of winning. “It’s just disappointing, with the low voter turnout.”

Of 1,700 registered voters in Forks, 191 votes were tallied as of Tuesday night, 11 percent of the city’s electorate.

The Clallam County Auditor’s Office planned another count of ballots in the all-mail election late Wednesday.

Those totals are not reflected here because of press deadlines.

Gilstrap spent a decade and a half in the Marine Corps, Army and Washington National Guard.

After spending 16 years in the military safeguarding liberties such as the right to vote, the low voter turnout “make me feel like everything I did was for nothing,” the log truck driver said.

“To me, that’s disturbing. If you’re not happy, get out and vote.

“People tell me, ‘my vote doesn’t matter.’ Yeah, it does, no matter how you vote.”

Gilstrap will fill the four-year Position 5 seat being vacated by Jon Preston, who did not run for re-election.

Smith did not return a call for comment on the election results.

Gilstrap, who attended Forks High School, said earlier Wednesday he spoke with Smith, whom he has known most of his life and who was a no-show at voter forums.

Gilstrap said he is anxious to focus his energies on the council on the city’s infrastructure, especially expanding the septic system.

“It’s a privilege to serve, to serve our country, to serve our community, to serve our state,” he said. “It’s an honorable thing to do.”

He also wants to focus on getting an off road vehicle park he said could stimulate the city’s economy.

“That’s the kind of think I want to really work on and kind of spearhead,” he said.

Gilstrap wants to investigate if the park might be allowed to be located on Department of Natural Resources land.

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

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