As voters in McCleary receive their ballot this week, they’ll have a choice between two names on the ballot — and one that’s not.
McCleary Mayor Gary Dent is aiming for his sixth term. He faces former City Councilman Chris Vessey, who served on the council for 12 years, including stints as mayor pro-tem to then-mayor Wallace Bentley.
Ballots are expected to go out by Oct. 18.
Joseph Chiaravalloti, a technology specialist, also filed as an official write-in candidate for the McCleary mayoral position. He’ll need to convince voters to write his name in and not fill in the oval on the ballot with Dent’s or Vessey’s names. He goes by the name “Joseph Chevy” — and yes, that name can be written in and will count for him; as will any reasonable spelling error for Chiaravalloti’s last name. That’s the value of paying a filing fee to register as an official write-in candidate, a ccording to Auditor Vern Spatz. Elections officials in the Auditor’s Office will go through each write-in to help establish voter intent. Not filing means that the county would have to count all variations of his name as separate votes.
Mayor Dent has been mayor five times since 1976.
After 40 years, he retired as a teacher, his last posting at McCleary School. He’s been involved with the Grays Harbor Transit Board, the E-911 Administrative Board and the Grays Harbor Council of Governments.
Vessey moved to McCleary in 1993 with his wife, who is from the area. He’s made his campaign about increasing transparency. Vessey spent 46 years as a logger and involved in heavy construction. He’s a cousin to the Vessey logging family.
Chiaravalloti has lived in the McCleary area for two years and has worked as a computer technician for the Olympia School District for seven years. He’s 42 years old and has a girlfriend and no kids.