UPDATE | Gordon to take port seat, Jerome and Enell in a tight race

Only one candidate had a sure path to a seat on the board for the Port of South Whidbey on Election Night: Curt Gordon.

Gordon is leading in the three-way race for the Position 3 seat on the board for the Port of South Whidbey with 50 percent of the vote, according to the initial tally announced by Island County Tuesday night.

Newbauer was second in the race, with 33 percent of the vote. Jenkins had 9 percent.

But Tuesday night, Gordon didn't want to dwell on his lead.

"I rather talk about how pleased I was that Mona did as well as she did," he said.

"I feel the public had really spoken their minds here. I think they obviously appreciated what I had to say and what Mona had to say. That's good because I don't think we were that far off," Gordon said.

He said his lead in the race was not that remarkable.

"When I look at the raw numbers, it's simply 600 more people that have voted for me," he said.

That's not a lot, Gordon said.

The winner of the race will fill the seat vacated by former Port Commissioner Lynae Slinden, who resigned in August.

The race centered on economic development, though it took an interesting turn at the end when Jenkins lambasted Langley leaders for being part of an "inbred" monarchy that stifles dissent and does nothing to help local merchants.

Newbauer, 48, owns Island Angel Chocolates in Langley and lives in Clinton. She was recruited to run for the position by Slinden.

Jenkins, 64, is retired and best known for his involvement in trying to create a publicly owned power company on Whidbey Island to take over the territory served by Puget Sound Energy. The proposal was rejected by voters in November 2008.

Gordon, 52, is the owner Island Asphalt in Clinton. He served on the South Whidbey Parks & Recreation District board for 18 years, and unsuccessfully ran for Island County commissioner in 2008.

The winner of the race will serve a four-year term.

Gordon said he was excited to join the port board. "It's time to get to work."

In the other port race, for Position 2, Chris Jerome was leading Dean Enell in a nail-biter.

Jerome had 50.9 percent of the vote, and Enell had 49 percent, in early vote returns. The candidates were just 68 votes apart.

"It's going to be horse race," Enell said, adding that he was thankful for the support he had received from voters.

The campaign was a positive one, he said.

"I enjoyed the process of going through the campaign. I learned about the port district and its potential to benefit South Whidbey," Enell said.

Enell, 61, is a 20-year resident of South Whidbey and a retired Boeing worker.

"The main thing I enjoyed about this race, and the last one as well [for county commissioner in 2004], the people you meet in a campaign like this ... are very concerned about Whidbey Island and the community here," Enell said. "That's kind of what motivated me."

Jerome, 54, is a scientific consultant who does medical research and lives in Langley.

He was in California on a business trip Tuesday and said his wife called to tell him how the election was going.

"Well, I'm very excited that it's looking good, and I hope that it continues to stay that way. And I look forward to working on the commission if it does," Jerome said.

The ultimate winner in the race will serve a six-year term.

Both port positions are nonpartisan.

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