Richards, Johnson to face off for Clallam County commissioner race in November

In a third count of ballots Tuesday, Johnson edged Gabe Rygaard by 192 votes in the top-two primary for a spot on the ballot.

Randy Johnson

Randy Johnson

PORT ANGELES — It’s official.

Ron Richards and Randy Johnson will vie for the open Clallam County commissioners’ seat this November.

In a third count of ballots Tuesday, Johnson, who filed with no party preference, edged Republican Gabe Rygaard by 192 votes in the top-two primary for a spot on the Nov. 8 general election ballot.

Richards, a Democrat, secured his place on the November ballot when the first batch of primary returns were counted Aug. 2.

Johnson solidified his candidacy by earning 25.7 percent of the primary vote after the Clallam County Auditor’s Office counted 3,044 late-arriving ballots Tuesday.

There will be no more counts until the all-mail election is certified next Tuesday.

Richards breezed through the four-person primary by winning 2,302 votes — or 37.8 percent — of the 6,093 cast within central-county District 2.

Johnson finished with 1,564 votes.

Rygaard tallied 1,372 votes, or 22.5 percent of the district total.

Republican Maggie Roth collected 855 votes for a 14-percent share.

Johnson and Rygaard were not immediately available for comment Tuesday.

No incumbent is running for the District 2 commissioners’ seat.

Democrat Mike Chapman, who has held the position for nearly 16 years, is running for state representative in the 24th Legislative District, which includes the North Olympic Peninsula.

In the Washington primary, the two candidates who receive the most primary election votes advance to the general election, regardless of party affiliation.

The total voter turnout in Clallam County was 40.8 percent. Of the 49,026 registered voters in the county, 19,984 returned a ballot, according to the Auditor’s Office.

Richards, 71, of Port Angeles, served as a Clallam County commissioner from 1976-80. He is a commercial fisherman.

Johnson, 73, of Port Angeles, is the former president of the timberland and wood products company Green Crow Corp. of Port Angeles and serves as its current board chairman.

Rygaard, 45, and his family-owned Rygaard Logging Inc., was featured prominently on History Channel’s “Ax Men.” He owns Ryfield Properties Inc., of Port Angeles and Penny Creek Quarry of Quilcene.

Roth, 62, of Port Angeles, is a civil process server who ran for Clallam County commissioner in 2012 and was elected to the county Charter Review Commission in 2014.

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Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at 360-452-2345 ext., 56450, or at rollikainen@peninsuladailynews.com.

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