Wilson, Cox leading in PUD races

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Richard Byrd/Columbia Basin Herald Grant PUD Commission candidates Judy Wilson and Nelson Cox held the lead in preliminary election results Tuesday night.

EPHRATA — It looks like the Grant County PUD commission will have two new commissioners in January. In unofficial election results, Judy Wilson is leading incumbent commissioner Terry Brewer, and Nelson Cox has a lead over Patti Paris in the race for the open seat.

Wilson has 9,946 votes to 8,221 for Terry Brewer, and Cox has 9,385 votes to 8.845 for Paris.

Wilson said she thought the result was a sign of discontent among the PUD’s core customers, and in her opinion PUD commissioners and officials didn’t realize how unhappy the core customers were with the utility’s current direction.

Because it is a commission, no one commissioner can make decisions alone, she said, and she is willing to devote the time and work with other commissioners to improve what she considers troubling aspects of the PUD’s current operations.

“Not what I was hoping,” Brewer said. He was running for this third term. “I’ll say I’m surprised, really.” But Grant County voters have made up their minds, he said. After his term ends, “I’ll go on vacation and enjoy the rest of my life.”

Paris said she was surprised by the result. She congratulated Cox on the win; “I think he’s got a steep learning curve.” She said she hopes the new commissioners do their homework before making any decisions.

Cox and Paris were running for the seat left vacant by Bob Bernd, who did not file for reelection.

Updated vote totals will be released at 5 p.m. Wednesday. The election will be certified Nov. 27.

Cheryl Schweizer can be reached via email at education@columbiabasinherald.com.

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