Two close races in East Jefferson could be determined by Friday’s ballot tally

By Charlie Bermant
Peninsula Daily News

PORT TOWNSEND — While most contests in the off-year general election reached decisive conclusions in the initial count Tuesday night, two races were too close to call.

In contests for the Port Townsend City Council and Jefferson Healthcare commission, the leaders could change after the next vote tally, with results expected to be announced at about noon Friday.

The Jefferson County Auditor’s Office on Tuesday counted 11,139 ballots out of the 22,722 ballots mailed to registered voters, representing a 49.02 percent voter turnout.

On Wednesday, 3,016 ballots, 50 percent more than projections, were retrieved from the mail and local drop boxes, raising the turnout number to 62.30 percent, according to Elections Supervisor Karen Cartmel, who said the percentage was the highest in the state.

In the Port Townsend City Council Position 5 contest, Pamela Adams, 69, held a 26-vote lead over Harold J. Sherwood, 65, earning 1,516 votes, or 50.5 percent, over 1,487 votes, or 49.52 percent.

Just after results were announced, Adams said, “It’s not exactly a landslide,” and Sherwood said,“Clearly, we will have to stay tuned for the results of this election.”

Adams and Sherwood are competing in a race to succeed Mark Welch, who declined to seek another term.

Adams ran for the council in 2011 but withdrew after determining she did not meet residency requirements.

Incumbents apparently prevailed in two other council races.

In Position 1, Michelle Sandoval, 55, a real estate agent, was leading Bob Jautz, 74, a retired transportation worker and surveyor, with 1,808 votes, or 54.18 percent, to 1,529 votes, or 45.82 percent.

In Position 2, Catharine Robinson, 66, a counselor, earned 1,873 votes, or 59.82 percent while Patrick Moore, 71, a retired electrician, won 1,258 votes, or 40.18 percent.

In a race for Jefferson Healthcare commissioner challenger Matt Ready had a 202-vote lead over incumbent Marc Mauney with 4,265 votes, or 51.21 percent, to 4,063 votes, or 48.79 percent, for Position 3.

“I want to thank all the people who helped me get these votes because it turned out that I needed every one,” Ready said.

Mauney, 58, of Port Hadlock is a retired pathologist seeking a second term as hospital commissioner, while Ready, 40, is a process-improvement specialist at Jefferson Healthcare.

Ready said that if he wins, he will be legally required to quit his job at the hospital.

In Position 5, incumbent Jill Buhler, who was running on a slate with Mauney, held a commanding lead against challenger Savannah Hensel with 5,328 votes, or 64.23 percent, to 2,967 votes, or 35.77 percent.

Buhler, 67, of Port Townsend, a writer, editor and photographer, was appointed to the hospital board in 1995 and has been re-elected three times.

Hensel, 28, of Port Townsend is a student at Peninsula College.

Buhler said Mauney could pull ahead at the next tally as “many of the votes are from the county area, where Marc has a lot of support.”

Mauney did not return a call for comment.

City Council seats are nonpartisan. The mayor, who is appointed by the council, receives $750 monthly; other council members get $500. The council adopts a budget that for 2013 is $14.6 million.

Jefferson Healthcare commissioners serve six-year terms and in 2013 oversaw a $75.4 million for operating and capital expenses.

They are paid $114 per day of service for up to 65 days of service, or $10,944, and are provided with medical insurance.

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Jefferson County Editor Charlie Bermant can be reached at 360-385-2335 or cbermant@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: November 06. 2013 6:27PM
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