Rick Paschall of Sequim led Patti Morris of Port Angeles for the Clallam County Public Utility District No. 2 position after a second count of general election ballots Wednesday.
Paschall, 62, a retired electric–utility analyst, manager and contractor in the Pacific Northwest for 30-plus years, could be next to fill the six-year position held by the late Hugh Haffner. Dave Anderson was appointed in September 2018 after Haffner resigned in July 2018, but Anderson did not run for the seat.
Paschall was unavailable for comment on Wednesday.
Morris, 66, a consultant who worked for 28 years for the Tucson Electric Power Company in Arizona, said before a second vote count on Wednesday that she will wait to comment on the race until ballots are counted.
“I’m down, but as far as I’m concerned, I’m going to wait until all the votes are counted and see where it goes,” she said.
“At this point, I’m just going to sit and wait for the race to finish. I can’t get beyond that until the votes are in.”
Both candidates support keeping utility rates low. They also support wind and solar projects, with Morris adding she supports all renewable and non-carbon power.
Both candidates also mentioned working with other utility districts in negotiating with the Bonneville Power Administration to lower electricity prices.
In a League of Women Voters of Clallam County forum in July, Paschall said that the PUD should be strong members of such regional organizations as the Public Power Council (PPC) “because that is the voice of public power and that is what BPA listens to.”
The Clallam County PUD was expelled from the PPD in June alleging that commissioner Jim Waddell, who favors removal of dams on the Snake River, leaked information that led to protests in Portland, Ore., which he denied.
Paschall said in July he is against the removal of the dams because it would take away resources from the BPA and could cost a significant amount to install new renewable resources to supplement the difference, leading to higher rates.
Morris said in July she was still investigating the issue. However in a recent interview, she said a federal decision was made not to remove the dams and it’s not a high-priority issue for the Clallam PUD for the time being.
She said it would take quite an effort to get an initiative going again to remove the dams, but she believes there needs to be a way to balance the impact on salmon and humans.
PUD commissioners are paid a $30,804 salary with up to $17,920 a year in per diem payments for meetings and PUD-related business. Voters for the position range across Clallam County excluding the city of Port Angeles.