Former Thurston PUD candidate Douglas Swift says he supports Dennis Pulsipher

Former Thurston Public Utility District 3 candidate Douglas Swift confirmed Thursday that he is supporting candidate Dennis Pulsipher.

Pulsipher, also a District 3 candidate, advanced to the general election after finishing second in the primary to incumbent Chris Stearns. Pulsipher was followed by Jesse Conwell and then Swift, who captured 17 percent of the primary vote.

Swift announced his decision in an email to The Olympian this week.

“Having worked with many employees of TPUD directly over the last few months, it’s clear that they sorely need an additional effective, qualified leader such as Dennis,” he wrote in his email.

Swift is vice president of operations for Swift Asset Management, an investment business established by his father that is being liquidated. The business recently sold three water systems with 291 customers to the PUD, a water utility.

Swift confirmed the email Thursday and added that prior to the primary he told Pulsipher that if he didn’t advance he would support him.

“I sense something on the (PUD) board that isn’t quite right,” Swift said, adding that Pulsipher would be a better fit with the two other commissioners.

The other commissioners are District 2 Commissioner Russ Olsen, who is defending his seat this fall against challenger Brian Hess of Yelm, and District 1 Commissioner Linda Oosterman.

Swift is also prepared to work on the Pulsipher campaign, but that role is still to be determined, Pulsipher said Thursday night.

“I appreciate his (Swift’s) support and efforts to contribute to the campaign,” he said.

Pulsipher, a former chief deputy assessor for Thurston County and current chief appraiser for the King County Department of Assessments, captured 26 percent of the primary vote, while Stearns received nearly 37 percent.

In reaction to Pulsipher gaining an ally, Stearns said Thursday that even if Swift had wanted to come work for him, he would have said no because the PUD recently purchased the three water systems from him. For Swift to come work for him would create an “ethically challenged situation,” Stearns said.

Stearns said District 3 candidate Conwell, who captured 20 percent of the primary vote, “was interested in supporting me,” although he added that Conwell hadn’t committed anything in writing to that effect.

Conwell could not be reached Thursday night.