With local elections quickly approaching, most of the Grays Harbor County posts will be on the November ballot, including an already contested county commissioner seat.
Several incumbents — including Sheriff Rick Scott, Auditor Vern Spatz, Assessor Rick Hole, Clerk Cheryl Brown and Treasurer Ron Strabbing — have announced that they’ll seek re-election. But both the prosecutor and coroner positions will see fresh faces, with incumbents relinquishing their posts.
Over the next week, Grays Harbor residents will have a chance to file for candidacy by mail, in person and online. Every candidate seeking office must file, and must be a registered voter living in the district they’re filing for, explained Elections Supervisor Katy Moore.
Three candidates have already announced intentions of running for the seat currently held by County Commissioner Herb Welch, who announced he won’t run again.
“Because of my health issues and the ensuing strain on my wife’s life, I have decided to serve this one term and retire back to the farm,” Welch said. “I will be forever humbled by the position of trust bestowed on me by the folks of Grays Harbor.”
Cosmopolis Mayor Vickie Raines, Quinault resident Keith Olson and Wishkah Valley resident Al Smith have all announced that they’ll compete for Welch’s position. Raines will run as an independent, Olson as a Republican and Smith as a Democrat.
The prosecutor position has also received attention, with Montesano attorney Mike Spencer and Chief Criminal Deputy Prosecutor Katie Svoboda announcing their candidacy.
Both Spencer and Svoboda sought the post after former prosecutor Stew Menefee stepped down last year, but neither was appointed after a disagreement between local Democrats and the Grays Harbor County Commissioners. Svoboda said she will file as a Democrat, but Spencer hasn’t announced his party affiliation yet.
Assessor Rick Hole will also have competition in the upcoming election, with appraiser Dan Lindgren and Loni Hooper, chief appraiser for Pacific County, as challengers. Hole is currently completing his first term in office.
District Count Judges Stephen Brown and Tom Copland, PUD Commissioner Russ Skolrood, and state Reps. Brian Blake, Dean Takko, Kevin Van De Wege and Steve Tharinger are also up for election this year.
Filing will take place in person May 12 through May 16 between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. at the Grays Harbor County Auditor’s Office in Montesano. Online filing will take place from May 12 at 9 a.m. through May 16 at 4 p.m. at www.vote.wa.gov/graysharbor. Filing paperwork can be sent by mail to the Grays Harbor County Auditor’s Office, 100 W Broadway Suite 2, Montesano, WA by May 16.
The primary election will take place Aug. 5, and the general election is set for Nov. 4.
Vidette Editor Steven Friederich contributed to this story.
UP FOR ELECTION
Congress, 6th District (2-year term)
U.S. representative: incumbent Derek Kilmer, $1,740 filing fee
Legislature, 19th District (2-year term)
State House, Position 1: incumbent Dean Takko, $421.06 filing fee
State House, Position 2: incumbent Brian Blake, $421.06 filing fee
Legislature, 24th District (2-year term)
State House, Position 1: incumbent Kevin Van De Wege, $421.06 filing fee
State House, Position 2: incumbent Steve Tharinger, $421.06 filing fee
Grays Harbor County (4-year term)
Commissioner, Position 3: incumbent Herb Welch (not running), $762.24 filing fee
Assessor: incumbent Rick Hole, $753.74 filing fee
Auditor: incumbent Vern Spatz, $753.74 filing fee
Clerk: incumbent Cheryl Brown, $753.74 filing fee
Coroner: vacant, $614.88 filing fee
Prosecutor: vacant, $1,324.48 filing fee
Sheriff: incumbent Rick Scott, $934.98 filing fee
Treasurer: incumbent Ron Strabbing, $753.74 filing fee
District Court, Position 1: incumbent Stephen E. Brown, $1,459.90 filing fee
District Court, Position 2: incumbent Tom Copland, $1,459.90 filing fee
Grays Harbor PUD (6-year term)
Commissioner, position 3: incumbent Russ Skolrood, $216 filing fee