The Olympic Peninsula’s two Democratic incumbents in the Legislative District 24 House of Representatives races will be on the Nov. 8 general election ballot with two Republican challengers.
Sue Forde of Sequim will oppose Rep. Mike Chapman of Port Angeles for the Position 1 seat, while Brian Pruiett of Carlsborg will be on the general election ballot challenging Rep. Steve Tharinger of Port Townsend for Position 2.
District 24 covers Clallam and Jefferson counties and part of Grays Harbor County. Ballots were counted Wednesday in Clallam County for a second count of ballots in the top-two primary election on Tuesday.
Jefferson County Auditor’s Office had said it would complete a second count on Wednesday but had not updated its website by 5 p.m. Grays Harbor plans another count in the all-mail election today.
Mike Chapman, Position 1, and Steve Tharinger, Position 2, received the most votes in both Clallam and Jefferson counties. The top vote-getter in the District 24 races in Grays Harbor County was Pruiett.
Tharinger said Wednesday that the results were encouraging.
“I think it’s good,” Tharinger said. “I think the numbers will tighten a little here in the primary, but it feels good the voters appreciate the teamwork that Rep. Chapman and I put in.”
Tharinger has held his seat since 2011. He chairs the Capital Budget Committee and serves on the Appropriations, Health Care and Wellness and Joint Planning for Aging and Disability Issues committees.
These committee assignments leave him well positioned to help the district with its various issues like housing and public safety, Tharinger said.
“It’s always humbling to get such strong support,” said Chapman, who chairs the Rural Development, Agriculture, and Natural Resources Committee and serves on the House Transportation Committee.
“I also want to listen and hear what people’s concerns are,” Chapman said. “I’m looking forward to continuing to discuss the issues with voters.”
District 24’s size and diversity produce a wide array of concerns from voters, Chapman and Tharinger said, but they agreed that housing is a common theme.
“In a district like the 24th that’s so large and so broad, I don’t think you can just pin it to one concern,” Chapman said, but noted that housing and homelessness were issues throughout the nation.
Said Tharinger: “We represent a diverse district. It takes some work to meet the needs of the voters. The voters seem to think we’re doing an OK job.”
Pruiett said he, too, was pleased with the results, and that his campaign team is preparing for the next phase of the election.
“The state (Legislature) has options if we see a change in the majority,” Pruiett said Wednesday.
“I see an opportunity to ease the housing crisis if the majority party changes to ease permitting restrictions.”
The economy and inflation were key issues for voters, Pruiett said, and reforming the state’s permitting laws could help spur the construction of much-needed housing in the district.
“We have canvassed over 25,000 doors since October,” Pruiett said. “We just finished the first phase. We’ll continue to work, work for positive change.”
Forde could not be reached for comment Wednesday.
As of Wednesday’s count, Chapman took an overall total of 22,948 votes, or 59.4 percent, while Republican challengers Forde received 10,712 votes, or 27.7 percent, and Matthew Rainwater of Port Angeles had 4,952 votes, or 12.8 percent.
Tharinger had an overall total of 20,563 votes, or 53.5 percent, while Pruiett won 15,279 votes, or 39.7 percent. Democrat Darren Corcoran received 2,532 votes, or 6.6 percent.
Results will be updated as more ballots are processed, but as of Wednesday, Chapman had received 11,469 votes, or 55.6 percent, of the votes in Clallam County; and, as of Tuesday, 7,846 votes, or 73 percent, in Jefferson County and 3,633 votes, or 50 percent in Grays Harbor.
Tharinger received 20,517 votes, or 51.2 percent of the vote in Clallam County as of Wednesday, and as of Tuesday, 7,225 votes, or 68.5 percent, in Jefferson County and 2,821 votes, or 38.4 percent, in Grays Harbor.
Pruiett received 3,594 votes, or 48.9 percent, in Grays Harbor County; 8,946 votes, or 43.6 percent, in Clallam County; and 2,739 votes, or 25.9 percent, in Jefferson County.
Forde received 6,669 votes, or 32.3 percent, in Clallam County; 2,154 votes, or 20 percent, in Jefferson County; and 1,889 votes, or 26 percent, in Grays Harbor County.