UPDATE | Voters favor familiar faces as incumbents prevail | 2022 General Election

Posted 11/18/22

Election Day turned into a good night for Democratic Party incumbents.

County Commissioner Greg Brotherton won a second term on the Jefferson County Board of Commissioners, and Jefferson County …

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UPDATE | Voters favor familiar faces as incumbents prevail | 2022 General Election


Election Day turned into a good night for Democratic Party incumbents.

County Commissioner Greg Brotherton won a second term on the Jefferson County Board of Commissioners, and Jefferson County Sheriff Joe Nole was on his way to a landslide victory for another four-year term in the first vote tally announced for the 2022 General Election.

Brotherton, the Democratic Party incumbent, had 68.12 percent of the vote in the initial count Nov. 8.

Marcia Kelbon, the Republican contender for the position, had 31.81 percent of the vote in the first tally.

“I am heartened at the great voter turnout in a midterm election and am so grateful that the voters of Jefferson County continue to support the work that I am doing as their District 3 County Commissioner,” Brotherton said.

“We have a lot of traction on a lot of projects that have been stalled for years, but there is still a lot of work to do and I think we have the right team to complete them successfully,” he added. “I can’t wait to dive back into this work with action, compassion, and teamwork.”

Another 4,393 ballots have been counted in the race since Election Day, with most going to Brotherton.

After the vote count Monday, Brotherton had 66.98 percent of the vote, while Kelbon had 32.93 percent.

The vote count stood at 13,220 for Brotherton, and 6,500 for Kelbon, on Monday.

Another tally is planed for Thursday afternoon, and county election officials estimated there were 1,050 ballots left to count.

Kelbon said early Monday she had conceded the race.

“There are still close to 4,000 votes to count and I respect the electoral process enough that I had hoped to wait for those to be processed,” Kelbon said in an email to The Leader before the latest tally Monday afternoon.

“But given the long Veterans Day holiday weekend, the totals in hand, and basic math, I reached out to Greg Brotherton at the start of the weekend and offered him my congratulations and some thoughts,” she added.

Kelbon noted her broad support in Tuesday’s election.

“I really appreciated the support of so many during my campaign. I was heartened to see that, compared to others from my party running for local, state, or national office within Jefferson County, I had a higher percentage, evidencing some cross-over voters,” Kelbon said. “I look forward to seeing how those numbers play out with the next tally.”

Brotherton, 49, is a former Quilcene businessman and school board member. He was elected to the District 3 position in 2018. 

Kelbon, 62, is a 40-year resident of the area and has worked as an engineer, patent attorney, and corporate executive. She was making her first attempt at elective office.

“I plan to remain active in the community and to continue to contribute where I can,” she said.

In the race for county sheriff, Nole squared off against another Democrat, Art Frank, for a second term.

He was easily cruising to victory last week, with 67.78 percent of all ballots counted while Frank had 31.55 percent.

Nole was favored to win the race for sheriff, having emerged from the 2022 Primary Election in August with 71 percent of the vote, while Frank had 27 percent.

In Monday’s updated tally, Nole increased his lead by 2,986 votes.

Frank picked up 1,072 new votes.

Heading into Thursday’s next count, Nole had 68.97 of all ballots cast, while Frank had 30.38 percent.

Frank conceded defeat on Election Night.

“Congratulations to Joe Nole on his re-election,” Frank said in an email to The Leader. 

“While our campaign fell short at the ballot box, we raised awareness of our county’s need for more professional law enforcement,” Frank said. 

“I’d like to thank the voters for candidly sharing your concerns, for telling us your stories, and for the honor of your vote,” he added. “I am profoundly grateful to our many dedicated campaign volunteers for their tireless, heroic devotion to improved public safety. Most of all, I’d like to thank my wife Anna and my daughters Eugenia and Viola for their love and support.”

Nole was already looking ahead following last week’s vote, which is set to be certified as official on
Nov. 29.

“I was really happy with the way it went. The deputies are excited,” Nole said.

“I’m glad it’s over. I don’t want to say anything negative but, yeah, everything worked out,” he added.

The race was noteworthy in its negativity, with Frank slamming the incumbent in newspaper ads for a lack of leadership and failing to adopt a strategic plan for the sheriff’s office, as well as labeling Nole a liar. 

By contrast, Nole emphasized his support from his deputies and staff, his record, and touted his endorsement from local Democrats. 

Nole said it was a hard race at times.

The tone of the race was not expected.

“I was surprised. I thought the last one was bad. This was unexpected,” Nole said. 

“It wasn’t just me. It was the deputies that it affected. It’s one thing to be derogatory toward me, but when it starts talking about the whole department, individual deputies not doing their job,” Nole said, recounting one line of the attacks.

“I only ran one time before, but I didn’t face that,” he said.

Most troubling, he said, was the untruthful things said and the impact it had on deputies and their families.

“With the deputies and with me, the things that are being said — we know those aren’t true. That was frustrating.”

“The negativity actually helped. It made us stronger,” Nole added. “I don’t know how many people ... after some of those negative ads came out, I got calls and campaign contributions and endorsements.”

He recalled his previous campaign, and the urging from some supporters to stand up and fight back when the race turned negative. Nole wouldn’t do it then, and took the same approach this go-round.

“This time, it’s like they knew that, just, when they go low, we go high. 

Goodness prevails,” he said.

Frank has worked in law enforcement for more than 40 years and serves in the sheriff’s office under Nole.

Nole said their relationship has been impacted by the race, but Nole vowed to move forward.

“I would hope things get better,” the sheriff said.

“We all are doing a job for the community, and that’s the main thing. I’m hopeful that things will get back to normal,” Nole said.

Easy election for some

A number of candidates for county offices ran unopposed.

Those included Democrat Jeff Chapman for assessor; Brenda Huntingford for auditor; Democrat Amanda Hamilton for clerk; Democrat James M. Kennedy for prosecuting attorney/coroner; Democrat Stacie Prada for treasurer; Mindy Walker for District Court Judge, Position No. 1; and Jeff Randall for Public Utility District No. 1, Commissioner District No. 1.

other early results

In other races, incumbent Sen. Patty Murray and Democratic Party candidate repelled a challenge from Republican Tiffany Smiley in the contest for U.S. Senator.

Smiley was making her first attempt at elected office but fell far short against Murray.

Murray won her sixth term, claiming 57 percent of the vote so far.

Smiley had 42 percent of the more than 2.7 million ballots cast in the race through Monday.

Congressman Derek Kilmer was winning in a landslide in his re-election bid as U.S. Representative in Washington’s 6th District.

The Democratic incumbent had 60.89 percent of the vote over Republican Elizabeth Kreiselmaier, who unsuccessfully sought the seat two years ago.

Kreiselmaier had 39 percent of the vote, with a total of 313,830 ballots from 6th District voters counted through Monday.