Clallam County Candidates

County Commissioner, 3rd District

Must live in the 3rd District to vote in this race.

  • Bill Peach (R), incumbent.
      • Experience: Current Clallam County Commissioner, District 3. Former regional manager for Rayonier Timberlands, where he worked for 27 years, and two-year executive director for the Quileute Tribe.
      • Online campaign sites:  Website ¦ Facebook
      • Comments: Peach has disturbing views on the use of our natural resources, and on environmental and consumer protection (he feels there are “too many regulations”).


  • Mike Doherty (D). Endorsed by Indivisible Sequim
    • Experience: Chairman of the Clallam County Board of Commissioners for twenty years; also chaired the Clallam Transit System, the U.S.F.S. Resource Advisory Committee, and the North Olympic Peninsula Resource Conservation and Development Council.
    • Online campaign sites:  Website ¦ Facebook
    • Comments: Mike Doherty’s longtime residence in Clallam County and extensive experience as county commissioner (1999-2010), as well as his advocacy for a healthy environment, his informed understanding of climate change, and his work as a community volunteer make him an appealing candidate. In addition to holding views that are in harmony with Indivisible Sequim’s stated values and positions, Doherty has education and experience that will serve Clallam County 3rd District residents well (an MA and JD from Gonzaga, and his service in the US Navy, for example). His work with area tribes and his Instrumental role in the Elwha Dams removal project have been valuable contributions to the Peninsula. He is well liked in both the West End and the county as a whole.

Director of Community Development (non-partisan)

At the request of one of the candidates, Indivisible Sequim is making no endorsement in this race.

  • Mary Ellen Winborn, incumbent.
    • Experience: Clallam County Director of Community Development since 2015. Licensed Washington State architect with 26 years of local professional experience working on both sides of the DCD counter. Planning and building specialist and small business owner of an architectural firm.
    • Online campaign sites:  Website ¦ Facebook
    • Comments: On her website and in her statement in the Voters Guide, Winborn stresses that under her watch as CDC, the county has hired a building official (to increase the department’s efficiency) and a hydrogeologist; fully staffed Code Enforcement; established an ordinance to protect rural residential neighborhoods while providing options for marijuana retailers and growers; created a vacation rental ordinance to assure safe rentals (for more on the dispute between her and challenger on this topic, see the Julie Gardiner comments below; developed an ordinance allowing farmers to continue farming in critical areas; and established a growth management steering committee.
  • Julie Gardiner
    • Experience: General Manager of Craig L. Miller Law Firm (her husband’s firm). Private=sector land use planner; planning experience with NTI/Clark Associates Engineering & Surveying, Elwha Tribal Council, the Makah Tribal Council, and the Muckleshoot Tribal Council. Retail shoe store owner.
    • Online campaign site:  Website The website is non-functioning.
    • Comments: In her statement in the Clallam County Voters Guide, Gardiner states that “B&B regulations risk dismantling the existing industry.” Her husband’s firm, where she is general manager, represented the owner of a 32,000-foot structure in Sequim who in 2016 hoped to open the home as a B&B with five bedrooms and 27 bathrooms. When the CDC under Winborn ruled the property a hotel, which is prohibited in its rural location, the owner, represented by Miller’s office, sued Winborn. Gardiner states: “I will promote sound development through professional and technical expertise. I will respect property rights. Furthermore, I believe there must be a level of use/occupation that enables enjoyment of our lands without government interference” (

Prosecuting Attorney

  • Mark Nichols (R), incumbent.
    • Experience: Prosecuting Attorney since late 2014, former Clallam County Deputy Prosecuting Attorney, and an associate attorney in private practice in Seattle. Also worked as a ranger for the National Park Service.
    • Online campaign sites:  Website ¦ Facebook
    • Comments: In the Clallam County Voters Guide, Nichols promises in a second term to “continue to aggressively prosecute crime, work with stakeholders to establish a mental health court and use the coroner position to advance discussion of prevention measures designed to curb public health crises.” However, Indivisible Sequim is troubled by several lawsuits brought against Mark Nichols over the past six years, one concerning age and disability discrimination (which Nichols denied) that led to a $ 1.6 million settlement ($100,000 of which came from the county) in 2012. The trial for a 2017 lawsuit, involving sexual harassment charges brought against him by his former office manager (he denies harassing her but not making repeated romantic overtures), has been postponed until after the election because Nichols claimed he would be too busy campaigning. Although the lawsuits do not in themselves prove guilt, they are worrisome. The sources of his campaign financing add to the objections to this candidate. He has raised more money than any candidate running for office in Clallam and Jefferson counties, and over half of his donors, including a number of family members, come from East Coast cities and other areas outside the Olympic Peninsula.
  • Selinda Barkhuis (I). Endorsed by Indivisible Sequim
    • Experience: Clallam County Treasurer, 2011-late 2017 (re-elected in 2014); county Charter Review Commissioner, 2015. Senior planner with Clallam County’s Department of Community Development, 2003-2010. Private practice in family and criminal defense law, 1995-2002, carrying a caseload of “hundreds of private and public defense clients.”
    • Online campaign site:  Website
    • Comments: Pro Bono Publico Award from Clallam-Jefferson Pro Bono Lawyers, 2012); Distinguished Service Award from Clallam County Pro Bono Lawyers, 1996); president of Clallam County Bar Association, 2000, 2019. As county Treasurer, she worked on new accounting procedures and security measures, and she was praised for her work by Mike Chapman and Mark Ozias. From her website: “I vacated the position of Clallam County Treasurer on December 15, 2017, a year before the end of my second term, because various county officials, including Mark Nichols, repeatedly placed me in the unacceptable position of having to choose between wrongfully disbursing funds based on false certificates and administrative ‘loopholes,’ and being sued to personally defend my oath-sworn duty to only disburse funds based on proper county legislative authority and consistent with statutory and constitutional rule of law which grant taxpayers certain rights when it comes to the spending of their tax dollars.”

District 1 Judge (non-partisan)

For this office, no endorsement consensus was reached in the October endorsement poll.

  • Suzanne Hayden.
    • Experience: 23 years of legal practice in Clallam County adult andjJuvenile superior courts, District Courts I/II, Clallam County adult and juvenile drug courts, and the Lower Elwha Klallam tribal court. Clallam Public Defender’s Office 1995 to present, with a professional focus on children.
    • Online campaign sites:  Website ¦ Facebook
    • Comments: Hayden opposes the “pay-or-appear”program, which jails misdemeanor offenders who refuse or are unable to pay a fine. She also hopes that the “school-to-prison pipeline” can be disrupted (e.g., by replacing basically make-work “community service” with “something meaningful,” such as job retraining or work toward a GED). Hayden also has been endorsed by two Superior Court judges.
  • Dave Neupert
    • Experience: Appointed as Acting Presiding Judge, Clallam County District Court 1, early 2018, and twenty years as Judge Pro Tem, Clallam County District Court 1; past president of the Clallam County Pro Bono Lawyers and the Clallam County Bar Association. Partner, Platt Irwin Law Firm, 1995-2015; executive director, Clallam-Jefferson Public Defender, 1991-1995.
    • Online campaign sites:  Website ¦ Facebook
    • Comments: Although Neupert has an impressive record of community service (e.g., with Habitat for Humanity of Clallam County and the Peninsula Behavioral Health Board), his at least partial support of departing Judge Rick Porter’s “pay-or-appear” program (which jails misdemeanor offenders who refuse or are unable to pay a fine) is cause for concern.

Sheriff (non-partisan)

For this office, no endorsement consensus was reached in the October endorsement poll.

  • Bill Benedict, incumbent
    • Experience: Clallam County Sheriff for the past three terms (2006 to present). Clallam County deputy sheriff, 1994-2006. Surface warfare officer and naval flight officer, U.S. Navy, 1971-1994. Member of the Olympic Medical Center Foundation board of directors.
    • Online campaign site: Facebook
    • Comments: The Clallam County sheriff’s office is the only one in the state with both jail and operations sections accredited by the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs. Benedict also touts the creation of a citizen advisory committee in 2007. Opioid addiction is huge in our area; a new approach is needed to break the cycle of addiction and property crime. “The philosophy of our program is the best way to fight crime is to use technology, information sharing, and target hardening to avoid becoming a victim of crime” (Voters Guide).
  • Jim McLaughlin
    • Experience: A Clallam County jail corrections officer, deputy, and detective in the Clallam County Sheriff’s Office for 13 years. Volunteer and coordinator of Search and Rescue. Earlier in his career: four years in the U.S. Marine Corps; 19 years with the U.S. Coast Guard, working in law enforcement and rescue operations. Retired two years ago, working as a real estate broker.
    • Online campaign sites: Website | Facebook
    • Comments: The sheriff’s office should hire more deputies, but with a proactive approach, expenditures can still be cut. The office should be more involved with juveniles and with the state Department of Health and Human Services’ vulnerable adult protective services. Closing background check loopholes can keep firearms away from criminals. Eliminating markets for stolen property could reduce opiate-fueled property crime.

Public Utility District 1 (PUD), Commissioner, District 3, West End (non-partisan)

At the request of one of the candidates, Indivisible Sequim is making no endorsement in this race, but members agree with Jim Waddell’s policy positions.

  • Ted Simpson, incumbent
    • Experience: Elected as a PUD commissioner in 1985. Active in his family’s electrical contracting business since 1964. Member of the National Electrical Contractors Association, past president of the Washington State PUD Association, and president of the Clallam County PUD Board of Directors. Also a past president of the Port Angeles Chamber of Commerce and the Port Angeles Business Association.
    • Online campaign sites: None found.
    • Comments: “Our current challenge will be to integrate new renewable (Green) resources into our system at an affordable cost, while complying with State and Federal Laws” (Clallam County PUD website). Simpson was inclined to retire at the end of his current term but decided to run following the departure of Hugh Haffner, one of three commissioners on the board. “If I need to, I can resign” during the term, he said. “At this time, yes, I will fill out the term” (Peninsula Daily News, May 11, 2018).
  • Jim Waddell
    • Experience: Retired in 2013 from a 35-year civil engineering career with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. While posted to the Walla Walla District (1999-2002), he contributed to the Lower Snake River Feasibility Study. Waddell also worked for the National Science Foundation and served as senior policy analyst for the environment in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. In earlier years, he was an officer in the Army National Guard.
    • Online campaign sites: Website | Facebook
    • Comments: Waddell’s work at the Army Corps of Engineers focused on water resource projects such as dams, levees, harbors, etc. Post retirement, He has researched the costs of hydropower facilities and their effects on Bonneville Power Administration(BPA) assets, renewable energy sources, salmon, and tax/rate payers. Some stated reasons for running: to press for more affordable power rates, provide a secure and resilient electrical power supply, and seek alternative energy resources to bring power rates down (Voters Guide, website).