Incumbent Public Utility District commissioner Jeffrey McClure will be challenged by Bob Burr for the first district commission seat in the Nov. 4 general election, according to early vote counts.
As of 3:36 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 6, Burr was leading the count with 45 percent of the vote, with McClure a close second at 43 percent.
Matthew Goggins, the third candidate in the nonpartisan race, trailed far behind, with 12 percent.
The final count, including an unknown number of mail-in ballots, will be certified Aug. 19.
Despite the initial vote leaning his direction, Burr said he didn't think the primary would be a good indicator of how the general election will go for himself or for McClure.
To narrow down the nonpartisan race, only voters in the first district, which includes much of south Bellingham, voted in the top-two primary.
McClure echoed that sentiment, saying he anticipated the first district race would be a close one between himself and Burr.
"It's a more progressive district than the other two," Burr said.
The general election vote will be put before all three county districts.
Before that time, McClure said he plans to work on gaining more endorsements and making sure voters know about the utility district.
"The P.U.D. has jurisdiction over power and water in Whatcom County," he said. "I want to make it clear we do not have jurisdiction on land use-based decisions."
Burr said he will spend more time in the county to reach out to second- and third-district voters before November, particularly those in agriculture.
"I hope to get a lot of support in the (agriculture) community," Burr said. "I think people in (agriculture) come before industry."