JEFFERSON WRAPUP — Big leads for county commissioner incumbents; Harper ahead in judge's race

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PORT TOWNSEND — Democratic incumbent Jefferson County commissioners Phil Johnson and David Sullivan headed to re-election after trouncing their challengers in the first round of election vote counting Tuesday night.

Port Townsend attorney Keith Harper also had a big lead against Quilcene attorney Peggy Ann Bierbaum for Superior Court judge.

Democratic state Sen. Derek Kilmer had a commanding lead over Republican businessman Bill Driscoll in the race to succeed veteran congressman Norm Dicks, D-Belfair, who is retiring after 36 years.

State Sen. Jim Hargrove, Rep. Kevin Van Wege and Rep. Steve Tharinger, the three Democratic legislators representing the North Olympic Peninsula in Olympia, had large leads over their challengers.

Two propositions that were before some Jefferson County voters were both leading.

One would create a parks and recreation district in Brinnon and another would continue a levy for the Toandos Community Center in Coyle.

U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Mountlake Terrace, who is seeking a third six-year term, held a big statewide lead over challenger Michael Baumgartner, a first-term Republican state senator from the Spokane area.

“I want to thank the citizens of Jefferson County for giving me, for giving us, the opportunity to continue to work with them,” Johnson said about the early lead that he shared with Sullivan in their bids to retain their seats on the county commission.

“I didn't know what to expect, you're always surprised when you win and it feels good.”

“I think we've done a good job preparing for economic recovery,” Sullivan said.

“We have a strong environmental record and never forget the most vulnerable citizens.

“I think people recognize that and appreciate the jobs we are doing.”

The Jefferson County Auditor's Office counted 15,382 ballots out of 22,756 issued, for a voter turnout of 67.59 percent Tuesday night.

The office has 2,560 on hand but uncounted and Auditor Donna Eldridge expects another 2,500 ballots to come in before the next count at about noon Friday, for a final voter turnout of 89.83 percent.

Both Johnson and Sullivan are seeking their third four-year terms on the three-member board of commissioners.
Johnson, 66, of Port Townsend, had 8,705 votes, or 60.16 percent, to the 5,765, or 39.84 percent, for former Port Townsend City Councilman Geoff Masci, 64, a Republican.

Sullivan, 60, of Cape George, won 8,423 votes, or 58.58 percent, to the 5,956 votes, or 41.42 percent, for Republican Tim Thomas, 42, of Irondale.

Harper, 59, of Port Townsend, had 8,337 votes, or 60.91 percent, to 5,351 votes, or 39.09 percent, for Bierbaum, 55, in their race to succeed retiring Craddock Verser as the county's only Superior Court judge.

Each serves as a part-time Superior Court commissioner and judge pro tem and part-time District Court pro tem.

Kilmer, 38, D-Gig Harbor, had 99,625 votes, or 58.98 percent, while Driscoll, 50, of Tacoma, had 69,283 votes, or 41.02 percent, in early voter tallies for the 6th Congressional District.

Kilmer won Dicks' endorsement early in the campaign.

The district encompasses the Olympic Peninsula — including Jefferson and Clallam counties — most of the Kitsap Peninsula and most of the city of Tacoma.

In the 24th District state legislative races, Hargrove, 59, of Hoquiam, who is seeking a fifth four-year term, led Larry Carter, 64, of Port Ludlow — who has no party preference — with 18,046 votes districtwide, or 68.75 percent to 8,203 votes, or 31.25 percent.

Van De Wege, 38, of Sequim, who is seeking a third two-year term, received 17,300 votes districtwide, or 67.39 percent, while Craig Durgan, 55, an independent, garnered 8,372 votes, or 32.61 percent.

In his bid for a second two-year term, Tharinger, 63, of Sequim, had 16,303 votes districtwide, or 62.55 percent, to 9,761 votes, or 37.45 percent, for Republican Steve Gale, 45, also of Sequim.

In Tuesday night's first-round of vote counting, a proposition authorizing the creation of Jefferson County Parks and Recreation District No. 2, which would cover the Brinnon School District, was winning by 415 votes or 60.14 percent, in favor, to 275 votes, or 39.86 percent, opposed.

A simple majority of the 1,000 registered voters in the district is required for passage.

If voters approve the creation of the district, elected board members could propose a property tax levy of up to 60 cents per $1,000 of assessed value and schedule a levy election next year.

A second proposition, continuing a levy to fund the Coyle-area Toandos Community Center, received 142 yes votes, or 56.8 percent, and 108 no votes, or 43.2 percent.

To pass, the proposition needs a simple majority. In addition, at least 112 voters in Jefferson County Parks and Recreation District No. 1 must return their ballots. There are about 340 voters in the district.

If approved, the levy would continue the existing rate first imposed in 2006 of 15 cents per $1,000 of assessed valuation for another six years.

Last modified: November 07. 2012 3:08AM
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