By Rob Ollikainen, August 6, 2013, Peninsula Daily News
Brad Clinefelter took half of the votes counted Tuesday night in the Port of Port Townsend primary for the District 2 seat.
Peter Quinn appeared to be headed to running against him this fall, with Bill Putney eliminated in Tuesday’s primary.
Clinefelter was leading Quinn by a commanding 872 to 468-vote margin — or 50.4 percent to 27.1 percent — after ballots were processed by the Jefferson County Auditor’s Office.
Putney trailed his competitors with 363 votes — or 21.0 percent — in an all-mail primary that will send two candidates to the Nov. 5 general election.
The candidates are vying for the port’s District 2 seat that incumbent Dave Thompson lost when the district boundaries were redrawn in 2011.
“Honestly, I’m surprised,” said Clinefelter, who was watching the sunset with his wife from Mystery Bay when told of the early returns.
“I thought that Peter would carry much more than that.”
Quinn said he was “very gratified” by the results.
“I hope the results end up the way they are right now,” he added.
“I’m gratified that District 2 is making a choice, and I’m looking forward to the general election. I think Brad and I would be an interesting race.”
Putney summed up the election by saying: “Life goes on.”
“I wouldn’t have entered the race if I didn’t have some things that I wanted to accomplish, but at least I got some of the airport-related things out in the public view for a few weeks, anyway,” Putney added.
“I knew it was going to be an interesting race. I guess I’m a little surprised by the outcome, but Brad had, in the end, quite an operation going for him.”
Voter turnout: 36 percent
The Jefferson County Auditor’s Office counted 5,463 ballots Tuesday night for all the election races. That represented all that had been received by mail as of Tuesday, said Betty Johnson, Jefferson County voter registration coordinator.
Ballots in drop boxes were not counted, she said. Jefferson County Auditor Donna Eldridge expects those ballots, plus those postmarked Tuesday that arrive later this week, to number between 500 and 700. Overall voter turnout now stands at 36 percent.
The next Jefferson count will be at about noon Friday.
In the port commissioners’ race, 1,746 of the 7,493 ballots issued — or 23.3 percent — had been returned in the mail by Tuesday.
Twenty-seven write-in candidates accounted for 1.6 percent of the early tally.
Clinefelter, 53, of Nordland, is a retired maritime heavy-industry worker and owner of Mystery Bay Charters & Services.
Quinn, 59, of Port Townsend, is an entrepreneur an the executive director of Economic Development Team Jefferson and CEO of Quimper Mercantile.
Putney, 67, also of Port Townsend, is a retired project engineer-manager and pilot.
District 2 represents Port Hadlock, Cape George and Marrowstone Island, and only voters in District 2 voted in the primary.
The general election in November will be for voters countywide.
A Port of Port Townsend commissioner earns $114 per diem for meeting days, up to 96 meetings per year, and monthly salary of $254, to a maximum of $13,992 per year for salary and per diem payments.
Port commissioners pass a budget that in 2013 includes $5.6 million for general fund, day-to-day expenses and $2.4 million for capital improvements.
The port has 28 employees.