SEQUIM — Challenger J. Mike Rudd has overtaken incumbent Jan L. Richardson in the race for Clallam County Parks and Recreation District 1’s Position 5, a board that oversees the facility formerly known as the Sequim Aquatic Recreation Center, or SARC.
Rudd had 3,347 of ballots cast, 57.8 percent, to Richardson’s 2,437 votes, or 41.60 percent, after Tuesday night’s initial ballot count.
Rudd will hold political office for the first time on the five-member board.
“I’m certainly pleased that I won,” Rudd said Wednesday.
“I think the YMCA is a wonderful asset managing [the former SARC facility],” he said. “I’m an active member of the Y; I see how it’s working from the inside. I met with the [YMCA of Sequim Executive Director] director [Kurt Turner]; I think he’s got a nice vision of where he wants to take it.”
A retired director of client and legal services, Rudd, 64, said his positive messaging likely helped him gain the near 58-percent haul of ballots.
“It was a positive message, and that message resonated with the voters,” he said.
Richardson, a 79-year-old retired Sequim resident, served the past eight years (two terms) on the commission.
He was unavailable for comment Wednesday.
In the Peninsula Daily News’ 2019 general election Voter’s Guide, Richardson said he would charge the YMCA more than the $20,000 a year it pays to lease the 34,000-square-foot former SARC building. Rudd said he would not recommend changing the current relationship with the YMCA.
Richardson also said the facility needs to be renovated and expanded.
“The question is, how would the money for an operations levy or capital project be financed,” he wrote.
Rudd said a capital project proposal would depend on details of the request.
“Its positive impact on the community will determine my position on any funding request,” Rudd wrote.
The parks and recreation commission oversees policies and contracts with the YMCA to manage the facility at 610 N. Fifth Ave. SARC closed in October 2015 and reopened Oct. 30, 2016, under Olympic Peninsula YMCA management — the organization’s third facility on the peninsula, and first with a swimming pool.
Under the agreement drawn up in early 2016, the SARC board would “simply be the landlord” for the facility, then SARC chairman Frank Pickering said.