Bellingham Mayor Dan Pike outpolled challenger Kelli Linville at the Thursday, June 16 endorsement meeting of more than 200 Whatcom County Democrats, but he fell just short of the two-thirds vote he needed for an official endorsement.
Ditto David Stalheim, former county planning director, who hopes to succeed Pete Kremen as Whatcom County Executive.
In the mayor’s race, Pike got about 64 percent of the ballots cast, with 49 percent for Linville and nine percent endorsing no one. (The totals add up to more than 100 because party members are permitted to endorse more than one candidate.)
In the executive race, Stalheim got 63 percent, (click here to read about his Hatch Act complications) with 46 percent endorsing Tom Anderson, former general manager of Whatcom County PUD. Two party members–a little less than one percent– endorsed State Sen. Doug Ericksen, R-Ferndale, who surprised the gathering by asking for Dems’ endorsement and actually showing up to speak.
UPDATE: A Friday, June 17 recount did not change these results.
The other candidates in the two races–Clayton Petree and Steve Moore for mayor, and Jack Louws for County Executive–did not seek the Dems’ endorsement and were not on the ballot.
The night’s big winner was Cathy Lehman, who got an endorsement with 78 percent of votes cast. Incumbent Barry Buchanan, the party’s former county chairman, managed just 33 percent.
J. Lynne Walker also earned an endorsement with 79 percent in her campaign to succeed Shirley Forslof as Whatcom County Auditor. But her rival, Debbie Adelstein, announced via former Bellingham Mayor Tim Douglas that she would not seek or accept the Democratic endorsement because she already works in the Auditor’s office, which has the task of counting ballots in the primary and general elections. Adelstein’s name was not on the party ballot, but she got five write-in votes.
Sheriff Bill Elfo got approval on 62 percent of ballots, with 50 percent for his challenger, sheriff’s detective Steve Harris. The third candidate in the race, Bob Taylor, did not seek endorsement.
Party Chairwoman Natalie McClendon said the party doesn’t give money to candidates it endorses, but they do send out mailings and provide political people power to mobilize Demo-leaning voters.