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Hospital District chairman losing bid for re-election

The Grays Harbor Hospital District Board of Directors will likely have a new member.

The hospital district, with borders in the Elma and McCleary area, is in charge of the new Summit Pacific Medical Center, as well as its clinics in Elma and McCleary at the old hospital.

In balloting for Position 6 on the board, challenger Gary Thumser is leading incumbent Brent Meldrum by a wide margin as of Tuesday night’s vote count — 907 votes to 632 or a margin of 59 percent to 41 percent.

But incumbent Andrew Hooper is likely to retain his seat, leading with almost 53 percent of the votes — 783 to 704 for challenger Karrie Fruen, who manages an apartment complex in Elma, in the race for Position. Hooper is an agent for New York Life and lives in Elma.

Board incumbent Louis Figueroa is running unopposed in the race for Position 2.

“It’s still early. I don’t want to get too excited until it’s done. It can change quickly,” said Thumser. “I don’t want to say too much until the fat lady sings.”

Thumser, of McCleary, is a former vice president of Simpson Credit Union. He says he also was part of Simpson Timber Company’s management team for 31 years. Thumser said that he also served as CEO of a credit union in Alaska.

“I haven’t even looked at the results, so I really don’t have any reaction at this time,” said the incumbent Meldrum, who is currently chairman of the hospital board. “I hope it turns around. I hope to continue (on the board).”

Meldrum owns a medical transport company and lives in Elma.