Influx of ballots not likely to change outcomes in Jefferson judge, commissioner races
By Charlie Bermant
Peninsula Daily News
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Attorneys Keith Harper and Peggy Ann Bierbaum were the top two vote-getters in Tuesday’s vote count in the race for the Superior Court, Position 1 judgeship now held by Craddock D. Verser, who is retiring.
In the race for Jefferson County Commissioner District 2 seat, incumbent David W. Sullivan, a Democrat, and Republican challenger Tim N. Thomas were leading Tuesday
In the top-two primary, the two with the most votes are chosen to vie in the general election.
Auditor staff will continue opening and processing ballots today for the next count, scheduled for Friday at about noon.
Harper, 58, had 4,077 votes, or 47.7 percent, in Tuesday’s count, while Bierbaum, 54, drew 2,886 votes, or 33.8 percent.
Port Townsend attorney Michael Haas, 50, got 1,555 votes or 18.21 percent.
In the District 2 county commissioner race, Sullivan, the Democratic incumbent seeking a third four-year term, received 1,519 votes, or 53 percent, while Thomas, a Republican, won 996 votes, or 34.75 percent.
Dan Youra, also a Republican, got 351 votes, or 12.25 percent.
In the judicial race, if any candidate receives more than half of the votes in the final primary tally, the candidate would take office without requiring a general election contest.
While saying that “anything can happen,” Eldridge said that if the voting trends hold, it would be unlikely that Harper would get more than 50 percent of the vote and consequently avoid a general election contest.
Verser, who is undergoing treatment for pancreatic cancer, had decided not to seek a third term.
He endorsed Harper who has served as a court commissioner, judge pro tem, part-time city attorney and part-time city prosecutor.
Harper and Bierbaum are sole practitioners who serve as court commissioners, or substitute judges. Haas shares a practice with attorney Sam Ramirez.
While Sullivan, 60, also bested two challengers in 2008, he did so with 42.86 percent of the vote, more than 10 points less than this year’s preliminary total.
Thomas, 41, the only candidate to hold a public election night event, drew about 120 people to the Highway 20 Roadhouse for a fundraiser and victory celebration.
“I want an economy which is based on strong business principles and not on chasing grants for temporary purposes,” said Thomas, who is president of Bernt Ericsen Excavating Inc., of Port Townsend.
“Money from higher levels is not sustainable.”
Thomas held off a residency challenge by Youra, 67 of Port Hadlock — who owns Youra Media — which was struck down three times, twice by the auditor and in Superior Court.
Youra claimed that Thomas’ relocation to Irondale in District 2 was not done in time to establish legal residency.
Youra said on Tuesday the main priority of the Republican Party is to defeat Sullivan and “send him back to nursing,” which was Sullivan’s occupation before his election as county commissioner.
Youra would not commit to supporting Thomas in the general election.
“I have not decided. I will have a conversation with him,” Youra said of Thomas.
Sullivan has said that he does not expect Thomas’ residency to be an issue in the fall campaign, saying instead that the race will “boil down to how prepared the candidates are to do the job.”
Incumbent Phil Johnson, a Demcorat, will face former Port Townsend mayor Geoff Masci, a Republican, in the Jefferson County commissioner District 1 race in November, since there were only two candidates on the ballot.
Johnson had 2,142 votes, or 71.38 percent, on Tuesday night. Masci won 859 votes, or 28.62 percent.
Ron Gregory, chairman of the Jefferson County Republican Party, on Wednesday called a meeting of the party’s central committee for late in the day in light of his apparent defeat in his bid for another term as a precinct committee officer — or PCO — by Paul Moseley, a Port Ludlow real estate investor.
Party bylaws require the chair to be an elected PCO.
Tuesday’s tally in that race was 114 votes, or 54.55 percent, for Moseley and 95 votes, or 45.55 percent, for Gregory.
Jefferson County Reporter Charlie Bermant can be reached at 360-385-2335 or at email@example.com.
Last modified: August 08. 2012 6:02PM