Incumbent, newcomer sail to wins in county commission races

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WALLA WALLA — An incumbent and a newcomer appear to have won decisive victories in races for two Walla Walla County commission seats.

Perry Dozier and Jim Johnson were both leading their opponents by wide margins Tuesday night according to preliminary results posted by the county Auditor’s Office. Dozier is running for the District 2 commission seat and Johnson for the District 1 position.

Dozier was leading his opponent Chris Blackman with 63 percent of the vote against Blackman’s 37 percent. Preliminary returns showed Dozier with 6,750 votes and Blackman with 3,906 votes.

Johnson was leading his opponent, Mark Spinks, with 76 percent of the vote against Spinks’s 24 percent. The initial ballot count showed Johnson with 7,903 votes and Spinks with 2,461 votes.

Dozier, a Waitsburg-area farmer, will serve his second term on the county commission since being elected in 2008 to replace former Commissioner David Carey, who retired. This was Blackman’s first run for a commission seat.

Johnson, who operates an accounting and tax service firm in Walla Walla, will serve his first full term in office. He was one of three candidates chosen by the Walla Walla County Republican Party’s central committee to fill the District 1 seat after Commissioner Gregg Loney announced he would retire at the end of April for health-related reasons.

Loney was up for re-election this year and Johnson, who has served a chairman of the Walla Walla County Republican Party for many years, was chosen by Commissioners Greg Tompkins and Dozier to fill the vacancy until the general election could decide a successor.

Spinks, who serves as Walla Walla County’s public records officer, was also making his first run for elective office. He was also one of the three candidates nominated by the county GOP’s central committee for the District 1 vacancy.

All four candidates listed their party preferences as Republican Party.

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