Sequim Democrat Kevin Van De Wege had a sizable lead in early vote totals last night over Port Ludlow Republican Danille Turissini in the race to replace retiring Hoquiam Democrat Sen. Jim Hargrove of Hoquiam for the 24th District State Senate seat.
The 24th Legislative District includes all of Clallam and Jefferson counties on the northern Olympic Peninsula and much of Grays Harbor County.
Van De Wege was pulling about 58.7 percent of the vote district-wide to Turissini’s 41.2 percent. In Grays Harbor County results, Van De Wege was taking 53.6 percent of the vote over Turissini’s 46.3 percent
Hargrove’s decision to retire at the end of his term this year has left the state Senate seat open this election, and the two state House seats for the district also were up for grabs, with three newcomers to state politics along with one incumbent in the races.
All of the candidates were from areas other than Grays Harbor County.
Van De Wege, 41, is completing his fifth term representing the 24th District in the House. For the last six years, he served as Majority Whip. He’s also a firefighter and paramedic in Sequim. His two top issues were creating jobs and funding schools.
Turissini, 58, has been active in public policy and grassroots networking for over 32 years, 10 of which has been focused in Olympia. She is credited with developing a statewide grassroots citizen action network as a founding member of EDC Team Jefferson, the Jefferson County State designated Associate Development Organization (ADO).
Rep. Position 1
For the House seat being vacated by Van De Wege, Claallam Councty Commissioner Mike Chapman, D-Port Angeles, was outpolling political newcomer George Vrable, 72, R-Port Ludlow.
Chapman had 61.8 percent of the early vote totals from around the district, while Vrable was at 38.1 percent.
In Grays Harbor County results, Chapman was taking 54.8 percent of the vote, while Vrable was taking 45.1 percent.
Chapman, D, Port Angeles, is a former U.S. Customs Inspector who earned the Exceptional Service Award for capturing the Millennial Bomber with US Customs in 1999.
Vrable is a retired 35-year career firefighter for the U.S. Forest Service, a former commercial fisherman and retired Air Force enlisted officer during the Viet Nam War era.
Rep. Position 2
In the other House race, incumbent Democrat Steve Tharinger of Dungeness had a 58.7.6 percent to 41.2 percent lead district-wide over Sequim resident John D. Alger, who refers to himself as a Republican/Independent.
In Grays Harbor County, Tharinger was taking 51.7 of the vote to Alger’s 48.2 percent.
Tharinger, 67, is seeking his third term. The 39-year resident of the Olympic Peninsula is the past owner of a small wood manufacturing business and served three terms as a Clallam County commissioner. In the House, he has served as vice-chairman of the Environment and Finance committees and currently is chairman of the Capital Budget Committee, while also sitting on the Appropriations, Health and Wellness Committees.