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Poucher Wins Mayor's Race

Johnson, Marx on council

David Poucher has won the mayor's seat in White Salmon in a landslide.

The latest count of the ballots from the Nov. 6 general election show Poucher winning with 420 votes, or 68.9 percent, while incumbent mayor Francis Gaddis tallied 188 votes, 30.8 percent.

The numbers from the Klickitat County Auditor's Office included ballots that had arrived in the mail as of Friday, Nov. 9.

"I was really surprised by the margin -- it seemed to start picking up a lot toward the end of the campaign," Poucher said. "But I really thought it would be more like 55 percent to 45 percent. I want to offer my heartfelt thanks to the voters of White Salmon for the confidence expressed in electing me as their mayor. I want to work hard to be worthy of their expectations."

The mayor-elect said getting the city's financial house in order was his top priority.

"The budget is going to be absolutely the main thing we have to do," Poucher said. "That's the snake that's going to bite us right away. We're going to have to fix this."

Poucher is expected to take the oath of office to serve as mayor soon after the election results are certified on Nov. 27. The new mayor will be in place in time for the regular Dec. 5 meeting of the White Salmon City Council.

"I'm looking forward to the first meeting. We'll do things a little more openly," Poucher said.

Mayor Gaddis, who was appointed to the mayor's position following the recall of former Mayor Roger Holen in August 2006, said he respected the decision of the city's voters.

"The people have spoken, that's all you can say," said Gaddis. "When the time comes, I'll hand him (Poucher) over the reins, and that's all there is to it."

Gaddis said he hoped the new mayor would be successful.

"I wish him the best of luck. We've had no ill feelings," Gaddis said.

Poucher praised Gaddis for his efforts on behalf of the city of White Salmon.

"I want to thank Mayor Gaddis for his service," Poucher said. "He helped the community through a difficult time, and we owe him a debt of gratitude."

The composition of the White Salmon City Council will also show significant changes, with two political newcomers, Leana Johnson and Bob Landgren, soon joining the council.

Johnson won in her bid for City Council Position No. 3 over Mark Peppel. Johnson had 304 votes (59.1 percent), against Peppel's 208 votes (40.5 percent).

Johnson and Peppel ran a positive campaign, and that goodwill carried over into the aftermath of the election.

"Leana will do a real good job," Peppel said. "I think it's a good group coming in. It's a pretty positive change for White Salmon."

Candidate Landgren ran unopposed for the Position No. 2 council seat, and won with 460 votes versus 20 write-ins for the position.

Landgren said he was ready to go to work on the City Council.

"Hopefully I can do what's best for the city," Landgren said. "There are a lot of issues. I just hope we can get the city headed back in a positive direction. I think we have a nucleus of a good City Council and mayor, and I'm looking forward to jumping in and doing what I can."

In the race for White Salmon City Council Position No. 1, Richard Marx cruised to a strong win over fellow incumbent Susan Gookin, who challenged Marx in a bid for a four-year term. Marx had 343 votes as opposed to 257 for Gookin.

Gookin said she hoped the city's political leaders would work together in a positive fashion.

"Everybody promised at the candidates' night event to be positive, so we'll see how that works," Gookin said. "I wish everybody a good term ahead."

In Bingen, all three council members ran without opposition. For Bingen City Council, Position No. 1, Betty J. Barnes had 58 votes against one write-in vote; for Position 2, Timothy S. Hearn had 59 votes versus two write-ins; and Sandra K. Dickey had 60 votes with two write-ins.

Voters in Klickitat County Fire District No. 3 (Husum-BZ Corner-Snowden) gave solid support to the levy lid lift proposal to enhance equipment and facilities for the fire district. "Yes" votes were at 540 votes, 55.5 percent; opposed to 433 "No" votes, or 44.5 percent.

Elsewhere, Goldendale could soon have a new mayor, as longtime Mayor Mark Sigfrinius was trailing in his bid for a fourth four-year term, although the margin was razor thin. The vote there was 486 votes (49.8 percent) for challenger Arletta Parton, and 481 votes (49.28 percent) for Sigfrinius.

In the Lyle School District, an extremely close race has apparently gone to incumbent Penny McAnally, who had 382 votes for a school board seat against challenger and former school board member Danny Smith's 340 votes.

The voter turnout for Klickitat County was at 56.02 percent as of Friday.

All results are still incomplete and unofficial. Any ballots postmarked by Nov. 6 will continue to come in and be counted over the next several days. The election results will be certified on Nov. 27.

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