Hugh Haffner, Clallam County Public Utility District commissioner, said he will begin campaigning in earnest now that the preliminary results from the Aug. 19 primary election show he will be advancing to the Nov. 4 general election.
Meanwhile his opponent, Bob Jensen of Angeles Communications, said now it's time to see what voters in the entire county think after surviving the three-candidate primary and earning the right to face Haffner in November.
Jensen is challenging Haffner for the District 2 seat on Clallam County Public Utility District's board of commissioners that Haffner has held
The odd man out in the "top two" primary was Tom La Rosa of Port Angeles, who works in the Sequim maintenance shop of the Clallam County Roads Department.
As of the Aug. 21 ballot count, a total of 14,890 ballots, Haffner received 1,606 votes or about 51.1 percent and Jensen had received 1,060 votes or about 33.7 percent. La Rosa received 475 votes or about 15.1 percent.
So far the county has received 23,506 of the 44,467 ballots mailed out Aug. 1, a turnout of 53.2 percent. Election results will be certified Sept. 3.
Only residents of Clallam PUD District 2 - which stretches from Seventh Avenue in Sequim west around the city of Port Angeles to roughly the Elwha River - voted in the primary.
Now residents of the entire county except the city of Port Angeles will vote in the November general election.
"That's a good feeling, getting more than 50 percent. Now I've got to get on the stick and really get the message out," Haffner said.
"There's a lot of things we've got to be doing. Experience counts but there's also the ability to make unbiased decisions, without the potential for conflicts of interest," he said.
"I'm not in business with Clallam PUD so any of my decisions are what is best for the ratepayer," Haffner said.
"There's tough decisions to be made, such as whether to buy a 'slice' of the Bonneville Power Administration's hydroelectric system, that will require a lot of analysis.
"Do we buy a slice of the system or become a full requirements customer of Bonneville?" he said.
Haffner, a 60-year-old Port Angeles resident, works as an attorney in private practice. He has served 14 years on the board, winning his second six-year term in 2002 by defeating Bill Roberds, president of Capacity Provisioning Inc.
Meanwhile, Jensen sounded optimistic after surviving the primary.
"Now we go to the general election and see what the entire population thinks," he said on Thursday following the election.
Jensen wouldn't reveal his campaign plans except to say, "I plan to review the whole process of what the public wants and make sure I'm on the right track."
Jensen said the primary election results were "about what I expected them to be" and that he couldn't say who La Rosa's voters might support in the general election.
"I look forward to speaking to a lot of citizens in the county and getting their input and thanking them for voting me in," Jensen said.
Jensen, a 39-year-old Port Angeles resident, is vice president and co-owner of CPI Communications/founding member and co-owner of Capacity Provisioning Inc. He also is a partner in Angeles Communications Inc.
Clallam PUD is governed by a three-person board of directors elected to six-year terms.
The district has 130 employees who work in offices and shops in Sequim, Carlsborg, Port Angeles, Forks and Clallam Bay/Sekiu.
It serves about 28,500 electricity customers in Sequim, Forks and the unincorporated areas of Clallam County plus the Port Townsend Paper Corp. mill.
Clallam PUD also operates nine water systems that serve about 4,200 customers throughout the county: Fairview, Gales, Mount Angeles, Monroe, Carlsborg, Clallam, Panoramic, Evergreen and Island View.
The district also built a 24-mile fiber optic loop between Port Angeles and Sequim and operates a small sewer department with a 2008 budget of $26,120.
The Sequim Gazette is located at 147 W. Washington Street in Sequim.
Business hours are Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Phone 360-683-3311, or toll free at 800-829-5810. FAX 360-683-6670.
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