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How Clallam County’s cities vote in presidential elections

There is one county in America that has, since 1980, voted for the winning presidential candidate—Clallam County, Wa. The county’s 40-year record of voting for Republican and Democratic candidates reflects its political diversity. In Clallam County, elections, especially federal and state elections, tend to be closely decided. In 2020 and 2016, for example, Joe Biden (D) and Donald Trump (R) won the county by a margin of 3.37% and 2.28%, respectively. In 2012, voters in Clallam favored Barack Obama (D) over Mitt Romney (R) by a margin of .38%.

At the county level, Clallam’s political leanings can be hard to decipher. Precinct-level voting data reveal the county’s three cities—Port Angeles, Sequim, and Forks—and assorted unincorporated areas exhibit partisan voting patterns.

For this analysis, we sorted the county’s 68 voter precincts into four groups—those in Port Angeles, Sequim, and Forks, and those in unincorporated areas.

Clallam County had an estimated population of around 76,770 in 2020. Port Angeles, the county seat, had a population of around 20,000, while Sequim had a population of about 7,600. Forks had a population of about 3,862.

Overall, in the last four presidential elections, Port Angeles and Sequim have leaned Democratic, while Forks has shown a strong preference for Republican candidates. The rest of the county has narrowly favored Republican candidates.

  1. In 2020 in Port Angeles, Biden won 54.678% of the vote to Trump’s 41.16%. In Sequim, Biden won 56.77% to Trump’s 41.21%. In Forks, Trump won 65.36% to Biden’s 31.96%. Trump won the rest of the county by a margin of .77%. 
  2. In 2016 in Port Angeles, Hillary Clinton (D) won 49.42% of the vote to Trump’s 41.47%. In Sequim, Clinton won 48.99% to Trump’s 43.96%. In Forks, Trump won 59.98% to 30.58%. The rest of the county favored Trump over Clinton by a margin of 6.94%.
  3. In 2012 in Port Angeles, Obama won 54.88% of the vote to Romney’s 42.01%. In Sequim, Romney won 48.96% to Obama’s 48.65%. In Forks, Romney won 55.88% to Obama’s 40.51%. Romney won the rest of the county by a margin of 3.49%.
  4. In 2008 in Port Angeles, Obama won 55.71% to John McCain’s (R) 41.85%. In Sequim, Obama won 50.24% to McCain’s 47.52%. In Forks, McCain won 56.31% to Obama’s 40.19%. Obama won the rest of the county by a margin of .13%.

Clallam County is holding municipal elections in its three cities—Port Angeles, Sequim, and Forks— in 2021. Twenty-six offices are up for election in those cities.



How Clallam County has voted in recent presidential primaries

Clallam County, Wash., has a long record of voting for the winning presidential candidate. Since 1980, the county has voted for the Republican and Democratic candidates that would go on to become president—Ronald Reagan (R), George H.W. Bush (R), Bill Clinton (D), George W. Bush (R), Barack Obama (D), Donald Trump (R), and Joe Biden (D).

The general election isn’t the only opportunity voters get to influence who becomes president. Before the general election, major and minor party candidates compete in primaries or caucuses to become their party’s nominee on the ballot.

Here is how Clallam County has voted in Republican and Democratic primaries going back to 2008.

2020

In 2020, Washington held its Democratic primary on March 10. Joe Biden won Washington’s primary with 37.94% of the vote. Bernie Sanders followed with 36.57%. In Clallam, Biden won 38.91% of the vote, followed by Sanders with 29.97%.

President Donald Trump was the only candidate on the ballot in Washington’s Republican primary.

2016

In 2016, Washington Democrats held a caucus on March 26 and Republicans held a primary on May 24. In the Democratic caucus, Bernie Sanders earned 72.7% of the vote, while Hillary Clinton earned 27.1%. One-hundred and one delegates were up for grabs. Seventy-four were allocated to Sanders. Clinton earned 27. In Clallam County, Sanders earned 68.6% of the vote to Clinton’s 31%.

In the Republican primary, Trump won 75.5% of the vote. Ted Cruz won 10.8%. In Clallam County, Trump won 78.1%, while Cruz won 9.3%.

2012

In 2012, the Republican Party of Washington held a caucus on March 3. Overall, Mitt Romney earned 37.65% of the vote, while Ron Paul earned 24.81%. Rick Santorum placed third, earning 23.81%. In Clallam County, Romney earned 30.2%, Santorum earned 26.2%, and Paul earned 25.9%.

President Barack Obama ran unopposed in the Democratic caucus.

2008

In 2008, the Democratic Party of Washington used a four-step process to determine the delegates it would send to the Democratic National Convention, starting with a statewide caucus open to all voters on Feb. 9. Barack Obama won 67.56% of the vote, while Hillary Clinton won 31.15%. Obama earned 52 delegates to Clinton’s 26. In Clallam, Obama earned 71.8% of the vote, while Clinton earned 25.6%.

The Republican Party in Washington held both a caucus, on Feb. 9, and a primary, on Feb. 19. Eighteen delegates were up for grabs in the caucus and 19 were up for grabs in the primary. Overall, John McCain won 25.9% of the vote in the caucus and 49.44% in the primary. Mike Huckabee followed, winning 23.52% in the caucus and 24.06% in the primary. In Clallam County, voters gave McCain 46.9% of the vote and Huckabee 22.5%. County-level data was not available for the Feb. 9 caucus.

2004

In 2004, Washington held its Democratic caucus on Feb. 7. Overall, John Kerry won 48.41% of the vote. Howard Dean followed with 29.99%. In Clallam, Kerry earned 48.2% of the vote, while Dean earned 33.1%.

President George W. Bush ran unopposed in Washington.

Clallam County is holding municipal elections in its three cities—Port Angeles, Sequim, and Forks— in 2021. Twenty-six offices are up for election in those cities.



Forks: The longest-tenured officeholders up for re-election in Forks, Wash.

Six incumbents are running for re-election in Forks, Wash., in the Nov. 2 general election. In total, seven offices are up for election in the city.

In Forks, one incumbent is the mayor, one is a city councilmember, two are school board members, one is a park and recreation commissioner, and one is a fire district commissioner.

  1. Joe Soha, Forks City Council Position No. 3
  2. Tim Fletcher, Mayor
  3. Kevin Hinchen, Quillayute Valley School District Director District No. 2
  4. Ron Hurn, Quillayute Valley School District Director District No. 4
  5. Donald Grafstrom, Quillayute Park and Recreation Board Commissioner Position No. 1
  6. Tom Rosmond, Fire District #6 Position No. 3

The longest-serving incumbent running for re-election in Forks is Quillayute Park and Recreation Commissioner Grafstrom. Grafstrom was first elected in 2013, and re-elected in 2017. He is running unopposed in the general election.

The next longest-serving incumbent is Fire District #6 Commissioner Rosmond, who was first elected in 2015. He is running unopposed in the general election.

Quillayute Valley School District Directors Hinchen and Hurn were both elected in 2017. Both are running unopposed in the general election.

Mayor Fletcher was first elected in 2017. He is running against Steve Wright in the general election. City councilmember Joe Soha was also elected in 2017. He is running against Sarah Holmes for the No. 3 seat.

The City Council Position No. 3 race is the only race in Forks that does not feature a sitting officeholder. Clinton W. Wood and Josef Echeita advanced from the Aug. 2 primary. Wood earned 58.7% of the vote, while Echeita earned 31.1%.

Forks is located in Clallam County, Wash.. Clallam County is holding municipal elections in its three cities— Port Angeles, Sequim, and Forks. Twenty-six offices are up for election in those cities. In 19 of those races, an incumbent is running for re-election.

To read more about elections in Clallam County, click here.



Sequim: The longest-tenured officeholders up for re-election in Sequim, Wash.

Six incumbents are running for re-election in Sequim, Wash., in the Nov. 2 general election. In total, eleven offices are up for election in the city.

In Sequim, three of those incumbents are city councilmembers, two are port commissioners, and one is on the Port Angeles School Board.

  • Sarah Kincaid, Sequim City Council Position No. 2
  • Mike Pence, Sequim City Council Position No. 3
  • Rachel Anderson, Sequim City Council Position No. 4
  • Ray L. Henninger, Park and Recreation Commissioner Position No. 1
  • Frank Pickering, Park and Recreation Commissioner Position No. 2
  • Alan Frank, Sunland Water District Commissioner Position No. 3

Park and Recreation Commissioner Frank Pickering is the longest-serving incumbent running for re-election in Sequim. Pickering was first elected in 2013, and re-elected in 2017. He is running unopposed in the general election for the No. 2 seat.

Park and Recreation Commissioner Ray Henninger is the next longest-serving incumbent running for re-election in Sequim. He was appointed to the position on Oct. 10, 2018, after the previous incumbent retired. Henninger, like fellow commissioner Pickering, will not face a challenger in the general election.

Sunland Water District Commissioner Alan Frank was appointed to the position on Jan. 1, 2020. He is running unopposed in the general election.

Sequim city councilmembers Pence and Kincaid were both appointed on April 27, 2020. Pence is running against challenger Vicki L. Lowe, while Kincaid is running against challenger Kathy Downer. Councilmember Anderson was appointed on February 16, 2021. She is running against Daryl Ness.

Five races in Sequim— two school board seats, two city council seats, and one seat on Fire District #3— do not feature an incumbent.

Sequim is located in Clallam County, Wash. Clallam County is holding municipal elections in its three cities— Port Angeles, Sequim, and Forks. Twenty-six offices are up for election in those cities. In 19 of those races, an incumbent is running for re-election.

To read more about elections in Clallam County, click here.



Port Angeles: The longest-tenured officeholders up for re-election in Port Angeles, Wash.

Seven incumbents are running for re-election in Port Angeles, Wa.sh, in the Nov. 2 general election. In total, eight offices are up for election in the city.

In Port Angeles, four of those incumbents are city councilmembers, two are port commissioners, and one is on the Port Angeles School Board.

  • LaTrisha Suggs, Port Angeles City Council Position No. 1
  • Mike French, Port Angeles City Council Position No. 2
  • Lindsey Schromen-Wawrin, Port Angeles City Council Position No. 3
  • Kate Dexter, Port Angeles City Council Position No. 4
  • Sarah Methner, Port Angeles School District Director Position No. 1
  • Colleen McAleer, Port of Port Angeles Commissioner District No. 1
  • Steven Burke, Port of Port Angeles Commissioner District No. 2

Sarah Methner, the president of the Port Angeles School District Board, is the longest-serving incumbent running for re-election in Port Angeles in the Nov. 2 general election. Methner was first elected in 2009, and re-elected in 2013 and 2017. She is running against Lola Moses.

Port of Port Angeles Commissioner Colleen McAleer, who occupies the District No. 1 seat, was first elected in 2013, and re-elected in 2013 and 2017. She is running unopposed in her race.

Three of the four Port Angeles city councilmembers up for re-election—Dexter, Schromen-Wawrin, and French— were elected for the first time in 2017. Dexter is running against John W. Procter for the Position No. 4 seat, while Schromen-Wawrin is running against Jena Stamper for the No. 3 seat. French, who holds the No. 2 seat, is running against John Madden.

Councilmember Suggs was appointed to the position on Dec. 19, 2019. She is running against Adam Garcia.

Port of Port Angeles Commissioner Steven Burke, who occupies the District No. 2 seat, was appointed on March 27, 2021. Like fellow commissioner McAleer, he does not face a challenger in the general election.

The Port Angeles School District Director Position No. 2 election is the only Port Angeles election that does not feature an incumbent. Incumbent Cindy Kelly did not file for re-election. The race features Mary Hebert and Gabi Johnson.

Port Angeles is located in Clallam County, Wash. Clallam County is holding municipal elections in its three cities— Port Angeles, Sequim, and Forks. Twenty-six offices are up for election in those cities. In 19 of those races, an incumbent is running for re-election.

To read more about elections in Clallam County, click here.



How Clallam County votes in state legislative elections

Clallam County, Wa., has voted for the winning presidential candidate in every election since 1980, whether Republican or Democrat. This presidential voting record has earned it attention from scholars and reporters outside of the state. How has the county voted in state legislative elections?

Overall, while Clallam County voters have supported Republican and Democratic presidential candidates, they have tended to vote Democratic at the state legislative level. In gubernatorial elections, Clallam County voters have favored Republican candidates.

Clallam County falls within Washington’s 24th legislative district. The 24th district also includes Jefferson County and most of Grays Harbor County. State Sen. Kevin Van De Wege (D) and state Reps. Mike Chapman and Steve Tharinger represent District 24.

State Senate

Washington’s 24th state senate district has been represented by a Democratic state senator since the 1980 elections. During that time, Clallam County has voted for a Democratic state senator in every election except 1988. In 1988, voters elected Ellen C. Pickell (R) over Paul H. Conner (D) by a margin of 0.39%. In 1996, 2004, and 2008, the Democratic incumbent did not face a challenger.

In 2020, Clallam County voters backed state Sen. Kevin Van De Wege (D) over Connie Beauvais (R) by a margin of 0.59%. Overall, Van De Wege won Washington’s 24th district by a 1.28% margin.

The following table shows how Clallam County has voted for its state senator since 2000. The table also shows the result in the entire district.

State House of Representatives

Washington 24th state house district is represented by two officeholders. Since 1980, Washington’s 24th district has voted for a Democratic candidate to hold Position 1 in 15 of the last 21 elections. A Republican held the seat from 1994 to 2004.

Clallam County voters have backed for the Democratic candidate in 11 of the last 21 elections. In 1982, 1984, 1990, and 2006, it broke with the rest of the 24th district and voted for the Republican candidate. In 2020, incumbent Mike Chapman (D) defeated Sue Ford (R) by a margin of 8.41%. Clallam ultimately voted for Chapman over Ford, but by a margin of 1.21%.

The following table shows how Clallam voted in the District 24-Position 1 elections since 1980.

The Position 2 seat has been held by a Democrat since the 1982 elections. Clallam County has voted for a Democratic candidate to hold Position 2 in most elections since 1980. It has voted for a Republican candidate in three of the last 21 elections—1992, 2010, and 2020. In 2020, Clallam voted for Brian Pruiett (R) over incumbent Steve Tharinger (D) by a margin of .11%.

The following table shows how Clallam voted in the District 24-Position 2 elections since 1980.

Clallam County is holding municipal elections in its three cities—Port Angeles, Sequim, and Forks— in 2021. Twenty-six offices are up for election in those cities.

Additional reading:



How Clallam County picks its governors

Clallam County, Wash., knows how to pick a winner— at least when it comes to presidential politics.

Every four years, going back to 1980, it has voted for the winning presidential candidate, making it the county with the longest record of anticipating the country’s next commander-in-chief— whether Republican or Democrat. That puts Clallam County at odds with Washington, a state that hasn’t selected a Republican presidential candidate since 1984. While Clallam has voted Republican in six of the last 11 presidential elections, Washington has voted Republican in only two.

When it comes to choosing Washington’s governor, Clallam County has struck a more consistent note, though one still mostly at odds with the rest of the state. Clallam has voted Republican in eight out of the last 11 gubernatorial elections. Since 1980, Clallam County has voted for a Democrat in 1984, 1988, and 2000, and for a Republican ever since.

Washington, however, has selected a Democratic governor in every election since 1984.

The following table contrasts Clallam’s gubernatorial voting record since 2000 with Washington’s statewide results.

Although Clallam has selected Republican governors since 2004, the results have been close, with no more than a 10% margin separating the Republican candidate from the Democratic one. In 2008, 2016, and 2020, the margin separating the two candidates was under two percent, reflecting Clallam’s political diversity.

Clallam County is holding municipal elections in its three cities—Port Angeles, Sequim, and Forks— in 2021. Twenty-six offices are up for election in those cities.



A recent history of presidential election bellwether counties

The United States is composed of 3,143 counties or county equivalents. Of them, Clallam County, in northwest Washington, has the longest record of always voting for the winning presidential candidate.

Since 1980, Clallam County has voted in every presidential election for the candidate that would go on to win the White House. Since 1920, it has only voted for the losing candidate in 1968 and 1976. Political scientists have a term for counties or states that anticipate how the rest of the country will vote—bellwethers.

Before the 2020 election, Clallam was one of 19 counties with an unbroken record of voting for the winning presidential candidate since 1980. Those counties were:

  1. Warren County, Ill.
  2. Vigo County, Ind.
  3. Bremer County, Iowa
  4. Washington County, Maine
  5. Shiawassee County, Mich.
  6. Van Buren County, Mich.
  7. Hidalgo County, N.M.
  8. Valencia County, N.M.
  9. Cortland County, N.Y.
  10. Otsego County, N.Y.
  11. Ottawa County, Ohio
  12. Wood County, Ohio
  13. Essex County, Vt.
  14. Westmoreland County, Va.
  15. Juneau County, Wis.
  16. Marquette County, Wis.
  17. Richland County, Wis.
  18. Sawyer County, Wis.

Until the 2020 election, Valencia County, N.M., held the record for the longest streak of selecting the winning presidential candidate, going back to 1952. Vigo County, Ind. began selecting the winning presidential candidate in 1956. Ottawa County, Ohio, Westmoreland County, Va., Juneau County, Wis., and Sawyer County, Wis., started their streak in 1964.

Clallam County is holding municipal elections in its three cities—Port Angeles, Sequim, and Forks—in 2021. Twenty-six offices are up for election in those cities.

Additional reading:



Since Aug. 10, four states have implemented universal indoor mask requirements

Between Aug. 10 and Sept. 2, Illinois, New Mexico, Oregon, and Washington announced new indoor mask requirements for both vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals.

In Illinois, an indoor mask requirement for vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals went into effect on Aug. 30. Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) announced the policy on Aug. 26. Illinois had previously lifted its mask requirement, which lasted for 407 days between May 1, 2020, and June 11, 2021.

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown (D) announced an indoor mask requirement for vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals on Aug. 11, and announced an outdoor mask requirement for vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals on Aug. 24. The orders took effect on Aug. 13 and Aug. 27, respectively. Oregon had previously lifted its mask requirement, which lasted for 365 days between July 1, 2020, and June 30, 2021.

On Aug. 17, New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) announced an indoor mask requirement for vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals would take effect on Aug. 20. Previously, New Mexico had an indoor mask requirement in place only for unvaccinated individuals. It had lifted the requirement for vaccinated individuals on May 14, 2021.

In Washington, an indoor mask requirement for vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals took effect on Aug. 23. Gov. Jay Inslee (D) announced the policy on Aug. 18. The requirement does not apply to small gatherings or office environments where everyone is vaccinated and interaction with the public is rare, or while working alone. Inslee previously lifted the indoor mask requirement for vaccinated individuals on May 13, 2021.

Three states currently have statewide mask orders for unvaccinated individuals, and 7 states have statewide mask orders for vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals. All 10 of the states have Democratic governors.

In total, 39 states have issued statewide mask requirements. Thirty-two states (16 states with Republican governors and 16 states with Democratic governors) have allowed statewide orders to expire. Three states (Louisiana, Oregon, and Illinois) that allowed a statewide order to fully expire later reinstated a mask order.



Washington school board candidate who suspended campaign gets most primary votes, re-enters race

Kristi Schmeck, who suspended her campaign for a seat on the five-member Sequim School District Board of Directors in the late spring, rejoined the race after receiving the most votes in the Aug. 2 primary. Schmeck received 28.85% of the vote for the Director at Large, Position No. 4 seat, while Virginia R. Sheppard, the candidate with the second most votes, received 28.58%. In Washington, the top two vote-getters in a primary advance to the general election.

Incumbent Brandino Gibson did not file to run for re-election.

The Sequim School District spans Clallam and Jefferson counties in Washington and is located in the westernmost part of the state on the Olympic Peninsula. Clallam County has the nation’s longest unbroken record of voting for the winning presidential candidate, going back to 1980.

According to the Sequim Gazette, Schmeck said on June 1 that she was attempting to remove her name from the ballot for personal reasons. S

he was unsuccessful, as she tried to withdraw her name after the May 21 filing deadline.

The Peninsula Daily News reported on Aug. 23 that Schmeck wrote in an email that she changed her mind about the race after seeing the primary results.

Schmeck and Sheppard will appear on the general election ballot on Nov. 2. In a candidate statement submitted to the Washington Secretary of State, Schmeck said she’d been an “educator/coach for over 25 years” and Athletic Director at a charter school. She received a bachelor’s in physical education and completed a teaching credential program and health science credential at Chico State University in California.

Schmeck wrote, “As a Mother and Grandmother, I’m committed to the health and future success of our youth. For over 25 years, I have worked as a school teacher, basketball and track coach. Empowering student’s success is the driving force in my life. Running for School Board gives me the opportunity to bring my passion and years of experience to the next level, and collaborate to make positive changes that are visibly needed in our schools.”

In her candidate statement, Sheppard said she operates Generations Boutique, a small business, and has worked as a corporate collections coordinator and construction assistant. She attended Santa Monica City College and Port Angeles High School.

Sheppard wrote, “Experience matters! I am a mother, grandmother, and a great grandmother. I find the need to step up and speak for the children of today and the future. I have had to sit back and watch our schools fail to teach our children the full history of America. Now we are told that American History must give way to Critical Race Theory, a largely untested proposition that assigns blame for many of society’s ills to one race of people, as if the cure for racism was another type of racism.”

In an email to the Peninsula Daily News, Schmeck wrote “[a]s a school board member our responsibility is to represent the community, parents and our students. My main concerns are the implementation of Critical Race Theory, the new adopted sex education program (CSE), and parents rights.”

The Director at Large, Position No. 4 seat is one of two seats on the Board up for election in 2021. Brian Kuh, the Director District No. 2 incumbent, declined to file for re-election. One candidate—Patrice Johnston—filed to enter that race.