Tyler Myles Vega.

Tyler Myles Vega.

Wennstrom top favorite in council primary

Top vote-getter brings in 75 percent; Vega second

PORT TOWNSEND — City Council candidate Libby Urner Wennstrom wishes someone had taken a picture of her face on election night.

“I wasn’t surprised that I won, but I was surprised by the size of my lead,” said Wennstrom, who landed 2,405 votes, or 75.61 percent, of ballots cast in the primary race for Port Townsend City Council Position 5.

Libby Urner Wennstrom.

Libby Urner Wennstrom.

Her nearest opponent, Tyler Myles Vega, received 640 votes, or 20.12 percent, of the 3,181 ballots cast in the council race.

Sky Hardesty-Thompson won 134 votes, or 4.21 percent, in the count announced Wednesday afternoon. The next ballot count will be by 4 p.m. today.

“She killed it in this primary,” Vega said of Wennstrom in a phone interview Wednesday.

“Realists were expecting something in this neck of the woods,” Vega said, but even he was impressed by Wennstrom’s margin.

Hardesty-Thompson did not respond to requests for comment Wednesday.

In the Nov. 2 general election, “I have to somehow meet [Wennstrom’s] challenge,” Vega said.

“That’s really been the story of the Progressive movement,” with candidates in his camp running against, and sometimes losing to, other Democrats, he said.

City Council races are officially nonpartisan, but Vega and Wennstrom have made no secret about their alliances.

Wennstrom, 58, is vice chair of the Jefferson County Democrats and a 23-year resident of Port Townsend.

Vega, 44, said he’ll continue to focus on housing — “that’s at the forefront of the conversation” — as well as disaster preparedness, resilience and the effects of climate change on the community.

Wennstrom plans on “continuing to engage with people,” to learn what their most pressing issues are.

She said she had breakfast Wednesday with a staffer at the Olympic Peninsula YMCA who put child care at the top of that list.

“I’ve been trying to connect with the new police chief [Thomas Olson], but I just didn’t have time” during the run-up to the primary election, she added.

“I’ve really enjoyed working with Tyler and Sky,” Wennstrom said, noting that her two opponents joined her and three other City Council candidates in the Housing Solutions Network forum on July 17 at the Cotton Building.

As Vega and Wennstrom advance to the general election, so will the council races that had only one or two candidates. Cameron Jones and Ben Thomas are vying for City Council Position 1 and Aislinn Diamanti is running unopposed for Position 2.

The three seats are open this election season as council-appointed Mayor Michelle Sandoval, Ariel Speser and Pamela Adams have chosen not to seek re-election.


Jefferson County senior reporter Diane Urbani de la Paz can be reached at 360-417-3509 or durbanidelapaz@peninsuladailynews.com.