Port plan passing; voters OK fairgrounds transfer, tax hike

Freeland resident Brenda Tracy drops off her primary ballot Monday in Freeland. The first round of election results shows the Port of South Whidbey's fairgrounds measures are passing.

It appears a majority of South End voters are in favor of a port-owned fairgrounds and are willing to pick up the tab.

According to the first round of primary election results released by the Island Auditor’s Office Tuesday evening, the Port of South Whidbey’s fairgrounds proposal is passing with 61.76 percent of voters casting “yes” votes. The ballot measure, which would make the port the new owner of the 13-acre facility and OK a 5-cent per $1,000 of assessed valuation tax hike, requires greater than 50 percent to carry.

Port leaders were happy with the results.

“That’s great news,” Port of South Whidbey Commissioner Curt Gordon said.

“I think it’s an endorsement of the port… and I’m looking forward to promoting that facility to a point where everyone, even folks on the dissent side, are happy that this occurred.”

The election results also appear to have narrowed the races for two other local primary positions: the District 10 state Senate seat and Island County commissioner Position 2.

In the bid for Senate, incumbent Republican Barbara Bailey is ahead with 51.44 percent of the vote. Democrat challengers Angie Homola, Oak Harbor, and Nick Petrish, Big Lake, are trailing with 39.21 percent and 9.35 percent, respectively.

For Island County commissioner, a race in which South Whidbey voters could not participate, incumbent Republican Jill Johnson will also move forward to the general election, capturing 54.42 percent of the vote. Democrat John Fowkes has 28.71 percent and Republican Dustin Amundson 16.86 percent.

In other contests with only two people seeking office, incumbent Helen Price Johnson led with 68.26 percent of the vote to Gary Wray’s 31.74 percent in the race for Island County commissioner District 1. Price Johnson is Clinton resident seeking a third term while Wray, a Coupeville man, is a political newcomer.

For the state House of Representatives, incumbent Republican Norma Smith is leading challenger Michael Scott with a whopping 73.61 percent in the race for Position 1, and incumbent Republican Dave Hayes is ahead of Democrat Doris Brevoort with 55.79 percent.

According to the Island Auditor’s Office’s website, 16,232 ballots were counted of 52,336 registered voters. The office expects about 4,000 more ballots to be counted and will release its next count on Wednesday at 5 p.m.