PORT ANGELES — Ann Marie Henninger, a candidate for Olympic Medical Center hospital commissioner, far outdistanced her two rivals in Tuesday’s primary election, gaining a majority of votes and a box on the Nov. 5 general election ballot.
Henninger, 52, won 6,358 votes (59.38 percent) for the Sequim-area District 1, Position 1 position compared to Nate Adkisson’s 2,438 votes (22.77 percent) and Warren Pierce’s 1,848 votes (17.26 percent) after Tuesday and Wendesday ballot counts. The next count will be by 4:30 p.m. today.
The top-two primary culls candidates to two for the general election ballot.
“I’m very grateful for and humbled by the election results,” Henninger said Wednesday in an email.
Henninger, a registered nurse for Obria Clinics Pacific Northwest, formerly My Choices, did not respond to requests Wednesday for a phone interview.
Adkisson, 40 on Election Day, is a home loan officer with Evergreen Home Loans in Sequim.
“I’m definitely the underdog,” he said Wednesday.
“I’m super excited that I made it through, but yes, I do have ground to make up and work to do to compete with Ann Marie.
“But I’m looking forward to it.”
“I definitely have to start talking to people about where I’m different from Ann Marie and get out there and get my message out.”
Adkisson said if elected, he will focus on creating an “advocacy network” to work on behalf of Olympic Medical Center-Clallam County Hospital District 2, a tax district comprised of 48,800 voters from Blyn to Beaver.
Adkisson said his plan would be helpful to district officials when taking quick action on issues related to, for example, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, a federal agency that administers Medicare and helps administer Medicaid.
The agency recently limited Medicare reimbursements at clinics more than 250 yards from hospitals that are similar to OMC.
Adkisson said he will concentrate in his campaign on ways for improving “transparency and pricing” at Olympic Medical Center.
Adkisson said he does not support the medically-assisted treatment (MAT) facility that the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe plans west of downtown Sequim, which has sparked strong community opposition.
Olympic Medical Center supported the application to the state Legislature for funding the project and a psychiatric facility that would be built in a second phase.
“I don’t support the MAT at its present location,” Adkisson said.
“I do support the MAT model and how that works in the state and in other states.
“You don’t put them in the middle of town.”
Adkisson said he does not support the clinic’s present location “because of all the things that are coming because of it,” declining to elaborate.
“I’m just going to leave it at that.”
He said Henninger “has kind of skirted the issue.”
Henninger addressed the MAT clinic issue in a July 16 interview.
“I’m not sure it’s the best place for it, but I do think it’s an effective treatment,” she said.
Henninger said then that she did not have enough knowledge about its location to give an opinion.
“I’m working on that,” she said.
“I’m trying to get more information.”
In the Peninsula Daily News’ voter guide (www.peninsuladailynews.com), Henninger said voters should choose her over Adkisson because for two years, she has attended OMC board meetings, reviewed the district’s strategic plans, interviewed hospital commissioners and studied the board handbook.
Adkisson said voters should choose him because he will “pursue a patient-driven, consumer- and taxpayer-oriented perspective when trying to shape OMC’s policies and endeavors.”
Pierce, 69 on Election Day, said he was not surprised that he came in third, asserting Adkisson and Henninger have “a lot more connections” than he does.
“I wish them both the best of luck,” the retired information technology executive said.
“They are both good candidates.”
The six-year position pays hospital commissioners up to $12,288 a to attend meetings and gives them full medical coverage, life insurance and disability insurance.
Commissioners approve a general operating budget that in 2019 is $213.6 million and pays wages for 1,500 employees.
Senior Staff Writer Paul Gottlieb can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 55650, or at [email protected].