MOUNT VERNON — A single vote separates two candidates for Dike District 5 commissioner in Tuesday’s election returns.
Richard Sullivan received 16 votes to Ryan Nelson’s 15 votes.
In Dike District 12, Eddie Tjeerdsma came out on top in a three-way race with Jim Drake and Gerald (J.J.) VerVaart.
The Skagit County Elections Office received about 1,300 votes overall, said elections supervisor David Cunningham. A few will be held, as is protocol, until the final certification.
The office sent out about 50 ballots to District 5 voters and between 4,000 and 4,500 to District 12 voters, he said. The ballots that came in are almost entirely from District 12.
The office does not expect many more ballots to come in, Cunningham said.
There were no other contested elections in the county’s other dike and drainage districts.
District 5, Pos. 2
If his one-vote lead holds, Sullivan will serve as the commissioner for Dike District 5, located west of Edison and north of Bay View along the Samish River.
Incumbent Sullivan will start his third term and will work on getting pipes lined and pumps improved, he said. He also wants to work on raising the dikes.
District 12, Pos. 2
Incumbent Tjeerdsma will return as commissioner for Dike District 12, the biggest in Skagit County. The district has faced controversy in recent years, including a commissioner resigning in September 2011 after a troubling report from the state Auditor’s Office.
District 12 proposes a project in Burlington to raise the levees by as much as 4 feet in some places, which worries upriver residents who say raising levees downstream could worsen flooding upriver.
Tjeerdsma received 591 votes, or 45.9 percent of the 1,288 ballots cast, followed by Jim Drake with 563 votes, or 43.7 percent, and VerVaart with 117 votes, or 9.1 percent.
Tjeerdsma, 57, is a manager with Hansell Mitzel Homes and volunteer assistant fire chief with Burlington Fire Department. He took over Chuck Bennett’s term when he resigned after the 2011 state audit, then ran unopposed to finish out the term. Tjeerdsma said he wants to make District 12 dikes federally certified to eliminate flood insurance in the district. The levees need to be raised, he said.