Political newcomers make strong showing in Grays Harbor County Commissioner races

Two political newcomers made strong statements in their bids for Grays Harbor County Commissioner seats in Tuesday’s first count of primary election ballots.

The top two vote getters in each race advance to the November general election.

Incumbent Grays Harbor County Commissioner Randy Ross will face Kevin R. Pine for the Position 2 seat in the November election. Pine is a Republican and the only one of the three candidates to state a party preference. The former Grays Harbor College wrestling coach who is running for political office for the first time holds a strong lead in the first count Thursday, 1,356 (42.15%) to Ross’ 1,040 (32.33%). Westport Maritime Museum Director John Shaw earned 805 votes in the first count, 25.02% of the vote.

Elma Realtor Jill Warne made a very strong showing for Grays Harbor County Commissioner Position 1, an open seat because incumbent Wes Cormier ran for the state Senate. A first-time candidate running as a Republican, Warne earned 2,521 votes (53%) of those counted Tuesday, and will face Democrat Jamie Nichols, current chairwoman of the Grays Harbor County Democratic Central Committee, in November. Nichols earned 1,517 votes (31.94%), well ahead of the other three candidates for the position: John (Jack) Dwyer, 312 (6.57%); current Elma Mayor Jim Sorensen, 284, 5.98%; and Chris Miller, 113, 2.38%.

19th Legislative District

In the race for 19th District senator, incumbent Democrat Dean Takko will face Republican Jeff Wilson of Longview in November. Cormier, a Republican from Elma, fared well in Grays Harbor County, getting 1,997 votes, but district-wide stood at only 17.33%, well behind Takko with just over 46% and Wilson with just under 36.5% of the vote.

In the 19th District House Position 1 contest, incumbent Aberdeen Republican Jim Walsh made a strong statement against his two Democrat challengers with 16,847 votes — 56.21% of the district-wide votes — and likely will face Montesano Democrat challenger Marianna Everson in November. Everson collected 6,983 districtwide votes (23.3%), while Clint Bryson, also of Montesano, earned 6,111 (20.39%). The district-wide results closely matched the Grays Harbor County tally: Walsh, 3,162 (53.17%), Everson, 1,449 (24.37%), and Bryson, 1,331 (22.38%).

There are only two candidates for 19th District Representative Position 2: longtime incumbent Brian Blake, D-Aberdeen, and Republican challenger Joel McEntire so they both advance to the general election. McEntire, from Cathlamet, leads with 15,548 (51.96%) to Blake’s 14,320 (47.85%). Blake held the edge in Grays Harbor County votes Tuesday night with 3,167 votes to McEntire’s 2,764, 53.3% to 46.52%.

24th District

In the 24th District, incumbent Mike Chapman, D-Port Angeles, and Republican challenger Sue Forde will square off in November for State Representative Position 1. The district-wide vote had Chapman with 22,193 votes (57.61%) and Forde, of Sequim, with 10,390 (26.97%). A Port Hadlock Trump Republican, Daniel Charles Svoboda, is out of the running after earning 5,904 district-wide votes, 15.33%. Svoboda had a better showing in Grays Harbor County, earning 2,151 votes to Chapman’s 3,401.

There were only two candidates in the 24th District State Senator race. Incumbent Kevin Van De Wege, D-Sequim, had 22,006 votes to challenger Connie Beauvais’, R-Joyce, 16,582. Both will face each other again in the November general election.

The four candidate race for 24th District Position 2 had incumbent Steve Tharinger, D-Sequim, pulling in 48.67% of the district-wide vote with 18,416. He will face Brian Pruiett, a Republican from Carlsborg, in November. Pruiett tallied 9,943 votes, 26.28%. Jodi Wilke, another Carlsborg Republican, earned 6,338 district-wide votes and Elma Democrat Darren Corcoran 3,120. Wilke scored the second most votes among Grays Harbor voters in the first count Tuesday, 1,869, to Tharinger’s 2,423.

Congressional races

In the 6th Congressional District, incumbent Derek Kilmer, D-Gig Harbor, earned 69,475 votes, just under 50%, in Tuesday’s tally. He will face Republican challenger Elizabeth Kreiselmaier, who earned 35,957 votes, 25.63%, in November. Grays Harbor voters cast 41.55% of the vote for Kilmer and 25.77% for Kreiselmaier. Of the four other challengers to Kilmer’s seat, Democrat Rebecca Parson was the only other candidate to earn more than 10% of the vote Tuesday with 16,954.

In the 3rd Congressional District, incumbent Republican Jaime Herrera Beutler earned 80,798 votes, 54.66%, and will face Democratic challenger Carolyn Long in November. Long, a longtime WSU Vancouver tenured professor and administrator, earned 60,851 votes, 41.17%. Pacific County voters closely mirrored the district-wide vote, 52.23% for Herrera Beutler and 41.97% for Long.


Two levies on the Grays Harbor primary ballot are passing as of Tuesday. The City of Elma’s levy to partially fund police services for 2021 stood at 76.4%, 424-131 in favor. The South Beach Regional Fire Authority excess levy for maintenance and operations was passing with 62.71% yes votes, 750-446.

Pacific County Commissioners

Incumbent Position 1 Commissioner Lisa Olsen, running as a Republican, earned 1,046 votes to Democratic challenger Darrel Moudry’s 820. With only two candidates on the primary the two will face off on the November general election ballot.

There were three candidates for Position 2, with incumbent Frank Wolfe, a Democrat, earning 1,188 votes, 42.92% of the vote. He will face Libertarian challenger Dan Driscoll in November, who earned 1,069 votes. Independent candidate Jon Lind tallied 492 votes, 17.77%.

What’s next

The Grays Harbor County Auditor’s Office counted 13,386 ballots Tuesday, with an initial voter turnout of just over 29%. There are an estimated 5,000 ballots left to count, with the next tally scheduled for Wednesday at 5 p.m. Pacific County counted 6,868 ballots Tuesday, with an estimated 503 left to go. Voter turnout stood at just over 44% Tuesday, with the next count scheduled for Friday.