Early results from the primary election Tuesday night were not kind to the incumbent county commissioners, who have faced accusations in recent months of being out of touch with their constituencies.
It appears likely that Commissioner Mike Wilson will not defend his seat in the general election. He finished fourth out of four candidates seeking the District 2 seat. And Commissioner Terry Willis is trailing challenger Wes Cormier in District 1, which centers in the East County area. Willis and Cormier will both advance to the General Election.
Leading the pack for District 2 is Aberdeen City Councilman Frank Gordon, a Democrat, who had 29.9 percent (908 votes). Retired PUD worker Allan Shores, a Republican, was trailing him by 58 votes with 28 percent.
Westport Mayor Michael Bruce was third with 23.2 percent. And Wilson garnered just below 19 percent. Both are Democrats.
Bruce just needs 146 votes to close the distance between he and Shores. The Grays Harbor County Auditor’s Office reports a rough estimate of 1,500 more ballots to count, although it could be less or more, according to Elections Administrator Julie Colacurcio. It wasn’t immediately clear how many more ballots are still to come in from the South Beach area, where Bruce was expected to garner support.
Voter turnout on the Harbor stood at 31.5 percent as of Tuesday night. Out of 37,208 ballots sent, 11,707 ballots were received. The next ballot results will be released Thursday afternoon.
Councilman Gordon, who owns Gordon Electric in Aberdeen, celebrated at a party last night, although he invited all of his neighbors and turned it into a National Night Out event, which coincided with election night.
The fact Wilson appears to be voted out, Gordon said, “shows that the citizens as a whole are dissatisfied in the direction the county is going and they want an extreme change. They want the commissioners to have a dialogue with the judges and the cities, and they haven’t done any of that.”
Gordon notes he staged a countywide campaign a year ago when he tried to get a seat on the PUD Commission. Although he was unsuccessful, he says he learned a lot of valuable lessons he hopes to apply to the county commission campaign.
Shores said he was optimistic he’d be in the final two because of a dedicated Republican base that consistently votes Republican.
“But let’s wait for the final results come in,” he said. “I don’t want to count my eggs before they hatch. I do think it’s telling how poorly the incumbent commissioners did.”
Wilson and Bruce didn’t return messages seeking comment.
In the East County commission race, Cormier had 51.3 percent (1,938 votes) to Willis’ 48.7 percent, setting up a tight battle in the General Election.
Cormier, a member of the county assessor’s staff, has never sought political office before. This is Willis’ third county commission campaign.
She lost her first bid against incumbent Bob Beerbower. When Beerbower didn’t run for re-election four years ago, she won handily and decided to go for a second term.
“The voters definitely sent a message to Mike Wilson, but I think we’re on to a close race,” Cormier said Tuesday night. “It’ll be interesting to see what happens. We now have two other districts to cover and campaign in.”
Cormier said he’s done a lot of doorbelling in the East County area, where people quiz him on courthouse security in the wake of the March 9 attacks on a judge and deputy; as well as concerns with the critical areas ordinance.
“I pledge to go around the county to hold town hall meetings to reach the citizens,” Cormier said. “I think there’s a real detachment with government and the people and the people are tired of that and it’s showing in the elections.”
Willis didn’t return a message seeking comment.