Friday, November 6, 2015

Downing, Farmer Win Olympia Port Seats

By Mark Edward Nero

Joe Downing and Jerry Farmer have won the Nov. 3 contests for the District 1 and District 3 seats on the Port of Olympia Commission, while incumbent Commission President George Barner Jr. has been ousted, according to results from the Thurston County Auditor.

Downing, who works as a senior financial examiner for the state and is a former member of the port’s citizen advisory committee, captured nearly 58 percent in the battle for District 1, according to the results. Out of a total of 43,454 votes, Downing received 25,178, or 57.9 percent, while his opponent, incumbent commissioner Barner received 18,276 votes, or 42 percent, according to the official results.

The race for District 3, however, was much tighter. Out of a total of 43,254 votes cast, Farmer, a radio station co-owner, managed to win 21,811 votes, or 50.43 percent, while his opponent, EJ Zita, received 21,443 votes, or 49.59 percent, according to the county auditor.

Current District 3 commissioner Michelle Morris was appointed to the seat in June after former commissioner Sue Gunn resigned in April due to health reasons. But Morris, who’s a principal with Olympia-based sustainability and anti-pollution company Sound Resource Management, declined to seek election.

The Port of Olympia Commission, which has three seats, with commissioners each representing a district within Thurston County. Commissioners serve four-year terms.