Edwards Wins County Commissioner Seat

By Graham Perednia gperednia@yelmonline.com
Posted 11/8/16

Former Thurston County Sheriff Gary Edwards, I-Yelm, won a seat on the Thurston County Commission, defeating challenger Kelsey Hulse, D-Lacey, 52 percent to 48 percent with 30,000 votes left to …

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Edwards Wins County Commissioner Seat

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Former Thurston County Sheriff Gary Edwards, I-Yelm, won a seat on the Thurston County Commission, defeating challenger Kelsey Hulse, D-Lacey, 52 percent to 48 percent with 30,000 votes left to cast.

“I think the public has become aware we have drifted too far to the left,” Edwards said. “We just need a common sense balance. … I’m no rocket scientist but I think I have common sense.”

Edwards, who ran as a Republican for sheriff, ran as an Independent candidate because he does not want party politics involved in the commission. He said his campaign began when Bud Blake was elected as an Independent two years ago and credits current Sheriff John Snaza for starting the trend by running as an Independent when elected.

“We are going to change Thurston County,” Edwards said.

With Edwards replacing retiring Commissioner Cathy Wolfe, Independents will have the majority of votes on the three-person commission.

At press time the race between Jim Cooper, D-Olympia, and John Hutchings, I-Olympia, is too close to call with the pair statistically tied at 50.2 percent to 49.8 percent. Regardless of how this race is decided, a major shift has occurred in Thurston County politics.



Heading into his first term as county commissioner, Edwards is looking to be a centrist and make decisions on what he believes is best for the county.

Edwards said he is in favor of protecting the environment and wildlife, but he also believes there is room for a strong economy to exist in the county.

Two years ago when Blake was elected, Edwards said he would eventually run if no one else stepped forward with a similar mindset on how the county should be run.

“I’m not looking to make a long-term investment in a new career,” he said. “I’m just looking to get some things accomplished.”

 

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