PORT TOWNSEND — Jeff Randall has ousted incumbent Barney Burke for Jefferson County Public Utility District Position 1 seat with nearly 62 percent of the general election vote.
A second count of ballots Wednesday showed that Randall had won 9,080 votes, or 61.93 percent of the 24,557 ballots sent to registered voters, while Burke took 5,581 votes, or 38 percent. Randall also had led in the initial count of votes on Tuesday.
“I’m surprised and pleased and humbled by the opportunity,” Randall said.
His goal was to run a fact-based campaign with the goal of educating the community about the public utility district (PUD), said Randall, who has been an electrical contractor for Power Trip Energy for the past 10 years.
“We wanted to generate more understanding for what the PUD is and what’s holding it back from being better than it is,” Randall said.
Randall’s campaign focused on the PUD’s budget. Randall also said his history of volunteering in the community and his background in renewable energy made him an ideal candidate for this position.
Burke has been the PUD commissioner since 2010.
While he was disappointed in the outcome, Burke is proud of the campaign he ran.
“I ran the kind of campaign I wanted to run by not accepting any campaign contributions,” Burke said. “I did a lot of going door to door.”
Burke said he was disappointed that the votes didn’t reflect the positive reactions he received when campaigning.
“Life moves forward,” Burke said, “and now I’ll be back on the radio Friday nights.”
Burke had taken a hiatus from hosting Friday Night Blues on KPTZ 91.9 in Port Townsend while campaigning.
Randall said he is looking forward to his new position and to be one of two younger county candidates.
“Kate Dean and I are working people with school-aged kids,” Randall said.
“I think that both of us bring a new perspective that both of our boards are lacking.”
Jefferson County Editor/Reporter Cydney McFarland can be reached at 360-385-2335, ext. 55052, or at [email protected].