Port Incumbent Bacon Runs Away with Primary, Will Face Holdeman or Dormier Again

By John Gillie, August 7, 2013, The News Tribune

A convicted sex offender’s bid to become a member of the Port of Tacoma Commission fell flat Tuesday as Pierce County voters put Andre “Doctor Dre” Young last among their choices for the four-year term on the port’s governing body.

Young, who spent nearly four decades behind bars and in a sexual predator treatment program before his release three years ago, had campaigned on a platform of bringing a worker’s perspective to the body that governs one of Pierce County’s biggest job engines.

In early returns, Young was winning barely more than one in 20 votes.

Leading the four-way contest was veteran port commissioner Connie Bacon, who locked up nearly half the votes cast. Bacon, former director of the World Trade Center Tacoma, advisor to former Gov. Booth Gardner and an independent retailer, had relied on the port’s improving performance in the last two years as evidence of her qualifications for the job.

Bacon has served 16 years on the commission.

The port’s critical container traffic is up nearly 30 percent this year, and it has attracted several new businesses, including a bulk liquids terminal, a shipyard and a new log export business, as it recovers from a recession that left it weakened.

As early ballots were counted, former Port of Tacoma security chief Eric Holdeman was leading Gig Harbor professional engineer Dave Dormier in a race that was still close Tuesday night.

The second-place finisher will face Bacon in the November election.

Both Holdeman and Dormier called on the port to explore fresh ideas to broaden its business and improve its job creation. Dormier said the port needs to enhance its rail capacity, and Holdeman called on the port to work closer with the Port of Seattle on gaining regional market share of the nation’s import and export traffic.

The race for Bacon’s Position One on the commission was the only one of three commission races to attract multiple contestants. Incumbent commissioners Dick Marzano and Don Meyer were unopposed.

Bacon was unavailable for comment Tuesday night.

Before his stint as the port’s security chief, Holdeman had an extensive military career and worked nationally as an emergency preparedness expert. He left the port last spring when the port reorganized its management ranks.

The former port executive said he believes Bacon can be beaten.“If she had gotten 55 percent or more, it would be a different story, but with her getting less than half of the votes, I think there’s a chance for a new perspective at the port.”

Dormier said he was closely following the election results.

“We’ll just have to wait and see how it turns out,” he said Tuesday night.

The political neophyte said he had spent less then $1,000 on the election campaign.

Bacon, who had pledged not to use yard signs to promote her candidacy, spent freely on advertising.

Young was attending a meeting at the Tacoma Urban League as the first results were posted. He didn’t return a call for comment.

Young, 72, acknowledged his troubled past but contended he nonetheless could bring dedication and a fresh perspective to the commission. He was the only minority candidate.

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