By Peter Segall
PORT ANGELES — Clallam County Commissioner Bill Peach congratulated Port Angeles City Council member Mike French as latest ballot counts show him continuing to trail French in general election votes for the seat.
“I wish Mike French well in his political career and if I can assist him in the transition over the next few months, I’m happy to help him,” Peach said in an interview Wednesday.
Voter turnout had risen, as of Tuesday, to above 70 percent in both Clallam and Jefferson counties in the Nov. 8 general election, while results, although close in two races, have remained unchanged through additional counts.
Jefferson County, which last tabulated ballots on Monday, has a voter turnout of 73.05 percent, or 20,157 ballots counted out of 27,592 provided registered voters. The next count will be today, with 1,050 ballots on hand.
Clallam County, which last tabulated ballots on Tuesday, had a 70.07 percent voter turnout, or 40,141 ballots counted out of 57,290 provided registered voters. The next count is scheduled for Monday, Nov. 21, with 100 ballots on hand.
The state turnout as of Tuesday evening was 60.41 percent.
Latest results from the Clallam County Auditor’s Office show French with 20,219 votes, or 51.44 percent, and Peach with 19,019 votes, or 48.39 percent. The auditor’s office estimates about 100 ballots remaining.
Peach, a former forest manager for a timber company who’s held his county seat since 2014, said he’s getting used to the idea of not being in office.
“Continuing community service is in the front of my mind,” Peach said. “I want to spend some time on my property.”
Peach said several people have asked if he’ll pursue a recount, but he said he has no plans to do so.
“I have a lot of confidence in our auditor and the system that she uses,” Peach said.
French said Peach had addressed the commissioners’ meeting on Monday, congratulating the city council member on his campaign and offering his help in the transition.
“He was very gracious and I appreciate how he ran the campaign,” French said. “I expect that I am going to have to work with him. Hopefully, we’ll be able to do that collaboratively.”
French, who has served on the city council since 2018, repeatedly used the word “excited” to talk about working as county commissioner.
“I’m very excited to learn the ropes and get involved,” French said. “Through the campaign, housing has always been the thing I’ve talked about the most. I’m not going to upset the applecart, but I’m interested in working collaboratively.”
French said he would likely remain on the Port Angeles City Council through the rest of the year but would be handing in a letter of resignation in the coming weeks.
Clallam County Elections Manager Susan Johnson said the new term for county commissioner begins Jan. 1.
Latest results show county Public Utility Commissioner Will Purser trailing former Sequim Mayor Ken Hays. According to the auditor’s office, Purser had 13,582 votes, or 49.02 percent, to Hays’ 14,040 votes, or 50.58 percent.
Purser could not immediately be reached for comment.
In Clallam County, Chief Criminal Deputy Brian King was elected sheriff over Port Townsend Police Officer Marc Titterness.
In Jefferson County, Sheriff Joe Nole was re-elected over challenger Art Frank.
Bruce Emery was elected director of the Clallam County Department of Community Development over former Port Angeles Mayor Cherie Kidd, who conceded the race last week.
Marcia Kelbon, a Republican running for Jefferson County commissioner, late Thursday conceded that race to incumbent Democrat Greg Brotherton.
The merger of Port Ludlow Fire & Rescue into the East Jefferson Fire District was approved by 87.3 percent of Port Ludlow voters.
Incumbent members of the state Legislature, U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives retained their seats.
Democratic state Reps. Mike Chapman and Steve Tharinger maintained healthy leads over their Republican challengers, Sue Forde and Brian Pruiett, respectively.
U.S. Rep. Derek Kilmer, a Democrat, was re-elected over challenger Elizabeth Kreiselmaier, a Republican, to the seat of the 6th Congressional District, which includes the North Olympic Peninsula.
U.S. Senator Patty Murray, a Democrat, was re-elected to the U.S. Senate over challenger Tiffany Smiley, a Republican.
Steve Hobbs, appointee to the Washington Secretary of State position, won over Julie Anderson. Hobbs is a Democrat; Anderson describes herself as non-partisan.
Those who ran unopposed won re-election.
All election results are unofficial until certified by the Clallam County Canvassing Board on Nov. 29.