SOUTH BEND - New bosses will oversee four of Pacific County's top elective offices following last week's general election. But continuing a long-established pattern, all will be Democrats.
The county's closest race was for the unglamorous treasurer's position, with Democrat Tracy Shawa squeezing out a narrow victory over Republican Brady Turner. As of Friday, Nov. 8, with most absentee ballots counted, Shawa had 3,750 votes to Turner's 3,542, or 51.43 percent to 48.57 percent.
The two political novices and their supporters carried on a lively advertising and letter-writing campaign in local newspapers. Shawa replaces fellow Democrat Robert Monohon, whom she defeated in the Primary Election.
Democrat Bruce Walker will be county assessor after defeating long-time assessor's office senior appraiser Lisa Olsen, 53.76 percent to 46.24 percent. Walker has a decade of experience as title officer with Pacific County Title Co. in South Bend. Incumbent Assessor Jerry Porter is stepping down.
Incumbent County Commissioner Pat Hamilton, a Democrat, was easily victorious over Republican Wayne Estes, 63.92 percent to 36.08 percent. Similarly, incumbent Public Utility District Commissioner Lawrence Remington defeated challenger Gene Barnum, 60.15 percent to 39.85 percent for that non-partisan position.
Other candidates for county offices were unopposed in this election. Pat Gardner, a Democrat, will be the new auditor, after having worked for several years as a top aide to retiring Auditor Ida Taylor.
Democrat David Burke will take over as prosecuting attorney after topping incumbent Mike Smith in the primary. Burke currently is an advisor to the county commissioners.
County Clerk Virginia Leach and Sheriff John Didion were unopposed in both the primary and general elections.
In legislative races, incumbent Democrats Brian Hatfield of Raymond and Mark Doumit of Cathlamet handily defeated their challengers by 61 to 39 percent within Pacific County. In the 19th Legislative District as a whole, Hatfield won with 68 percent and Doumit with 67 percent.
Likewise, U.S. Rep. Brian Baird won in the county, besting GOP challenger Joseph Zarelli 71 to 29 percent. In the Third Congressional District as a whole, Baird beat Zarelli 63 to 37 percent.
Elizabeth Penoyer, a private attorney in South Bend who serves as a municipal judge on the Peninsula, was elected North District Court judge in a race against fellow attorney Michael Turner. Penoyer, the wife of Superior Court Judge Joel Penoyer, won 56 to 44 percent. She will be replacing Mike Sullivan, who is leaving the judgeship after being named Willapa Valley School District superintendent.
South District Court Judge Douglas Goelz was re-elected without opposition.
Pacific County voters agreed with voters elsewhere in the state on five statewide ballot measures.
Referendum 51, a 9-cent-a-gallon gasoline tax which would have been used for new highway and bridge improvements, was turned down by 62 percent of Pacific County voters and 74 percent of state voters overall. Gov. Gary Locke, Sen. Sid Snyder and a cross-section economic leaders had lobbied strongly for the referendum's passage.
Sixty-five percent of county voters and 53 percent of state voters favored Initiative 776, which rolled back supplemental license tab fees in four counties, mostly around Puget Sound.
Fifty-three percent of voters in the county and the state agreed with Initiative 790, pertaining to the Fire Fighters' retirement system.
About 68 percent of county voters and 60 percent of state voters rejected referendum 53, having to do with unemployment insurance.
Sixty-two percent of county voters and 69 percent of state voters rejected House Joint resolution 4220, which would have changed the rules for passing property tax levy propositions.