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Henley: It’s Nou and Johnson in race for San Juan County sheriff

It
It's official: Sheriff's Deputy Rob Nou and Sheriff's Detective Brent Johnson are the top finishers in the primary and advance to the Nov. 2 general election.
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-- U.S. House, 2nd District: Rematch between Larsen, Koster.
-- 40th District, position 1: Precarious lead for Newman.
-- 40th District, position 2: Morris, Swapp advance to general election.
-- San Juan County election results.

San Juan County Auditor Milene Henley called the primary election Wednesday night for Deputy Rob Nou and Detective Brent Johnson in the race for San Juan County sheriff.

With 300 ballots to be counted Thursday and an estimated 100 expected to arrive in the mail by the Sept. 1 certification date, Johnson was still the second-place finisher in the race for sheriff. "I don't expect the trend to change," Henley said.

Johnson had 1,247 votes, Probation Officer Brad Fincher had 1,151, Sheriff’s Deputy Jeff Asher had 1,121, and Sheriff’s Deputy Felix Menjivar had 735.

Nou held a commanding lead, leading the five-candidate field with 2,086.

When voting closed at 8 p.m. Tuesday, the vote count was Nou, 1,495; Johnson, 1,066 votes; Fincher, 956; Asher, 945; and Menjivar, 618.

As of Wednesday night, the voter turnout was 60.41 percent. All told, 11,490 ballots were mailed out in this election.

Wednesday, County Councilman Bob Myhr had 514 votes and Lopez Port Commissioner Jaime Stephens had 486 to lead in the primary for the Lopez/Shaw seat on the San Juan County Council. Jerry Gonce, a retired city manager, was third with 355 votes.

On Orcas Island, voters rejected a $27 million bond measure for improvements to the elementary and high schools and for construction of a new middle school. The vote was 1,013 yes, 1,182 no.

The sheriff earns $97,514 a year and manages a staff of 36 full-time employees and a budget of $2.3 million, which includes: $719,219, dispatch; $472,888, Enhanced E-911; $398,920, jail; and $209,615, Emergency Management.

Nou joined the San Juan County Sheriff’s Department as a deputy after four years as police chief in Burns, Ore., and has 29 years of law enforcement experience, much of that as an administrative sergeant with the Yamhill County, Ore., Sheriff’s Department. He’s managed or supervised drug-abuse awareness programs, a multi-agency traffic accident investigation team, traffic safety enforcement grant projects, and a city police department.

Nou moved to Lopez Island in 2008 and has been active there as an EMT and with the Lopez Island Prevention Coalition. He worked hard to become known to voters on other islands, presenting himself as being “thoughtful, reasoned, and prepared to do the job.”

Johnson has been the county’s lead detective the past eight years, is a Firewise program coordinator, and is chairman of the county Veterans Advisory Committee. He proposes bolstering the department’s resources through greater use of the sheriff’s work crew, boosting the ranks and duties of volunteer reserve deputies, partnering with other law enforcement agencies, and aggressively seeking state, federal and foundation grants.

Both candidates have booths at the San Juan County Fair. The Journal hosts Q&As with the candidates Friday -- Nou at noon, Johnson at 1 p.m. -- at the Journal/Sounder booth in the main exhibit hall.

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