Jorgensen wins nearly half the vote

Published on Thu, Sep 18, 2003 by Rebecca Schwarz Kopf

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Jorgensen wins nearly half the vote

By Rebecca Schwarz Kopf

It�s unofficial, but official. Blaine resident, retired teacher of 30 years and charter boat captain Jim Jorgensen has won the Port of Bellingham district 3 primary with nearly 50 percent of the vote and will face incumbent Ginny Benton in the general election November 4.

Tuesday night�s unofficial results revealed 47.6 percent of the votes went to Jorgensen, a total of 2,684. Ginny Benton followed at 23.2 percent with 1,307 votes. Travis Holland had 638 votes, Ron Wilson took 528, and Jack Grant received 485.

Following the results, fellow challengers Travis Holland of Bellingham, Ron Wilson of Ferndale and Jack Grant of Blaine all endorsed Jorgensen, stating there was a need for change in port commission leadership.

�I just felt so good about the number of people who turned out to vote. They are aware and concerned of the present port commission and are looking for change, and I want to be the man that helps to change things within the port,� Jorgensen said.

Increasing communication with the public, and making residents aware of what the port does is a top priority, Jorgensen said. �It�s important the public be informed and understanding of the port,� he said. �I want to help make that happen.�

Jorgensen�s wife of 40 years, Patricia, said they enjoyed the primary experience and celebrated following the results. �We both just enjoyed the evening. We were at the courthouse,� she said, adding their daughter just gave birth to their first grandson, and she called to say congratulations after viewing the results online.

�We celebrated by having Ben & Jerry�s Ice Cream,� Patricia said, adding she chose vanilla with fudge and Jim had Cherry Garcia.

Now that the primary is over, the general election is on their minds. Much of the debate from challengers thus far included some of Benton�s decisions, including taking a job with a port tenant, and some of her personal monetary issues. However, Jorgensen said his campaign will not focus on any personal issues, and he will not attack his opponent.

�Those are Ginny�s issues and I am not going to get into that,� Jorgensen said. �I will not participate in that kind of behavior. I am here to bring some change to the port and have more communication and understanding with the county�s residents.�

Jack Grant said the last six weeks have been an incredible experience, and he�s leaving the future open when it comes to running again. �You never know,� he said. �But right now I am really looking forward to the next phase of this port race and seeing all of the issues come out.�

In addition to endorsing Jorgensen, Grant said he�s interested in helping with the campaign. �I would be happy to help him in ways that I can,� he said. �I�d really like to help him in an advisory capacity. Ginny�s still going to have support, but I think Jorgensen will be a better commissioner.�

Benton said she�s glad the primary is over and is looking forward to November. This primary was strictly for voters in district 3 � the northwest corner of the county � but the general election is county-wide.

�I just hope the election will focus on issues,� she said. �I think Jim Jorgensen is a gentleman and hopefully he�ll discuss port issues on his platform.�

Benton is currently serving her second term on the port commission, and cites no tax increases and economic projects such as the Blaine marina and pier as accomplishments during her time in office.

The general election will be held Tuesday, November 4. For voting information and registration, contact the county at 676-6700 or visit online at www.whatcomcounty.us.

Point Roberts water district
As for the Point Roberts water district 4 position 2 primary, incumbent Arthur Wilkowski and David Niles will advance to the general election. Wilkowski had 61 votes and took 40 percent of the vote, and Niles had 46 votes. Tom Hollett finished third with 45 votes.