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Thursday, May 13, 2021

Election roundup: 2020 state and local election

Gov. Jay Inslee gathers Western Students into the Miller Hall fish bowl to encourage the campus to exercise their rights to vote. // Photo by Jonathan Pendleton

By Henry Stewart-Wood 

Democrat Gov. Jay Inslee is projected to win re-election as governor of Washington, according to the Secretary of State. As of 9:34 p.m. on Nov. 3, Inslee has 1,936,773 votes so far and is leading with 631,537 votes over Republican Loren Culp, who so far has 1,305,236 votes.

“I’m excited about the prospects of leading this state. I’m confident, I believe bold decisive leadership works, it has worked and I hope it continues,” Inslee said during a debate with Culp on Oct. 7. 

Inslee’s campaign was largely focused on his COVID-19 response, economic recovery, green energy and climate change. 

Running for Public Utility District 1 All Commissioner District

By Benjamin Leung

Christine Grant is projected to be the next public utilities commissioner of Whatcom County, leading her opponent, incumbent Jeffrey McClure, by 19,389 votes as of Nov. 3. 

Public utilities commissioners provide a range of utilities: water, energy and telecommunication services to communities at cost. 

Grant has a background in working with public and private utilities and rural electric cooperatives, private nonprofit companies that provide electricity to their customers and members, she said. She teaches advanced energy policy with the Institute for Energy Studies at Western.

“Part of the reason I’m running is because I feel like our PUD could be doing so much more for Whatcom County,” Grant said in a KGMI interview on Oct. 29.

McClure works as a radio network controller architect and has worked on the PUD commission for the past 12 years.

“I do respect my opponent’s expertise in energy policy,” McClure said in a KGMI interview on Oct. 30. “But as you can tell, the PUD is so much more than just that.”

Both candidates emphasized plans to provide fiber-optic internet infrastructure as their top priority, which would extend broadband throughout the county. They differentiated themselves in terms of securing funding and experience.

“We are working hard in our partnership with the Port of Bellingham in a three-faced solution to extend broadband throughout the county,” McClure said. “The middle mile [of fiber-optic cable] … will start to be implemented next.”

Grant committed to not raise property taxes for the expansion of broadband, citing grant opportunities, state programs and private philanthropists as funding options.

“Fifteen other PUDs across the state started building broadband internet infrastructure 20 years ago,” Grant said. “And our PUD just hasn’t made any traction on it.” 

Incumbent Reykdal reelected, Ref. 90 passed

By Henry Stewart-Wood

Chris Reykdal is projected to continue as Washington’s superintendent of public instruction. Reykdal will continue to support Washington’s 295 school districts, allocate funding and create statewide learning standards among other responsibilites. Reykdal has 1,651,640 votes as of 9:45 p.m. on Nov. 3, a lead of 407,276 votes over his opponent Maia Espinoza, who has 1,244,364 votes. The percent of votes counted have not been made available on the Secretary of State website. 

“I am the first state superintendent in more than 50 years with children in our public K-12 system subject to the policies, decisions and outcomes of my leadership. The stakes are high for my kids, your kids, our economy and our shared future,” Reykdal said on his website.

Referendum 90, which was a key area of difference for the candidates, is projected to be  approved with a 620,770 vote lead  according to the Secretary of State website as of 9:45 p.m. on Nov. 3. This bill will “require school districts to adopt or develop, consistent with state standards, comprehensive age-appropriate sexual health education, as defined, for all students, and excuse students if their parents request,” according to the Secretary of State website

“We want everyone to feel like they can go into society and have good experiences with other people. And we can’t expect that people are going to behave appropriately if they don’t know what appropriate behavior is,” said Andrew Villeneuve, executive director of the Northwest Progressive Institute in October.

These results were provided by the Washington Secretary of State’s Office as of 10:139:39 p.m., Nov. 3, 2020

STATE EXECUTIVES:

Lt. Governor:  Projected Winner – DENNY HECK, 47.21%
MARKO LIIAS, 33.73%

Secretary of State: Projected Winner – KIM WYMAN, 51.75%
GAEL TARLETON, 48.14%

State Treasurer: Projected Winner – MIKE PELLICCIOTTI, 55.61%

DUANE A. DAVIDSON, 44.31

State Auditor: Projected Winner – PAT (PATRICE) MCCARTHY, 60.46%

CHRIS LEYBA, 39.46%

Attorney General: Projected Winner – BOB FERGUSON, 58.88%

MATT LARKIN, 41.02%

Commissioner of Public Lands: Projected Winner – HILARY FRANZ, 59.1%

SUE KUEHL PEDERSON, 40.81%

Insurance Commissioner: Projected Winner – MIKE KREIDLER, 67.64%

CHIRAYU AVINASH PATEL, 31.94%

WASHINGTON STATE SUPREME COURT:

Position #03: Projected Winner – RAQUEL MONTOYA-LEWIS, 59.74%

DAVE LARSON, 39.88%

Position #04: Winner – Charles W. Johnson (uncontested)

Position #06: Projected Winner – G. HELEN WHITENER,67.61%

RICHARD S. SERNS, 31.83%

Position #07: Winner – Debra L. Stephens (uncontested) 

LEGISLATIVE DISTRICT 40:

Joint Resolution 8212: A constitutional amendment on investment of public funds: REJECTED, 52.61%

LOCAL RESULTS: 

City of Bellingham Proposition 2020-14 Continuation and Extension of Sales and Use Tax for Transportation Improvements: YES, 82.74%

Ferndale School District 502 Proposition 2020-13 School Programs and Operations Replacement Levy: YES, 62.4%

COLUMBIA VALLEY PARK AND RECREATION DISTRICT Proposition 2020-15 Establishing Six-Year Regular Property Tax Levy: NO, 57.98%

Whatcom Superior Court Judge Position 4

By Mallory Biggar

David E. Freeman is projected to win the race for Whatcom Superior Court Judge Position 4 with 78.63% of the vote. The total votes as of 10:13 p.m. on Nov. 3, were 89,416 for Freeman, the incumbent, to 24,065 for his opponent, Jim Nelson. 

Freeman was appointed to the Whatcom County Superior Court by Gov. Jay Inslee on Jan. 28 to fill Raquel Montoya-Lewis’ position after she was appointed to the Washington State Supreme Court. 

All current Whatcom County Superior and District court judges endorsed Freeman, as well as both Whatcom County Democrats and Whatcom County Republicans, among others according to his Facebook page. Freeman’s opponent said throughout his campaign that he refused to seek political endorsement.

“We are loving the initial results for Department 4,” Freeman said in a Facebook post tonight.  “Thank you to all of our supporters, I am sincerely humbled by these early results. We will be posting more in days to come. Thank you!”

U.S. Representative for Congressional District 1

By Linnea Hoover

Democrat Suzan DelBene is projected to keep her seat as U.S. Representative for Congressional District 1 despite strong opposition from her Republican opponent Jeffrey Beeler Sr. in Whatcom County. DelBene has 217,973 votes with 60.6% of the total votes, while Beeler, a Republican, has 141,349 votes with 39.3% of the total vote, according to the Washington Secretary of State website as of 10:13 p.m. on Nov. 3. 

The Whatcom County auditor elections division website reported that  Beeler had 34,939 votes, making up 54% of the total votes in Whatcom County. DelBene trailed with 29,706 votes, or 45.91%. 

DelBene has fought in Congress to introduce legislation that would make college more affordable, address climate change, protect farmers, expand protection on public land and scrap the cap on income contribution for the wealthiest Americans, according to her website

DelBene ran her reelection campaign on COVID-19 response, fighting systemic racism, creating jobs and building a fair economy. More information about these issues can be found on her website

According to his website, Beeler ran on a platform of balancing the budget, decreasing the deficit, immigration, transportation, infrastructure, health care and insurance. 

“Don’t let the Radical Left destroy our traditional values,” Beeler wrote on his website on Nov. 2, 2020. “They do have a standing army and an enslaved press, but we are not a disarmed populace. Don’t let them disarm us by wearing us down.”

Running for Whatcom Superior Court Judge Position 2

By Cami Sires

Evan Jones is projected to outpace James Erb for the position of Whatcom County Superior Court judge. As of 10:13 p.m. on Nov. 3, Jones has 50.53% of the vote, 57,855 total, while Erb trails with 49.27% of the vote, 56,407 votes. The Whatcom County Board of Elections reported an estimated 5,125 ballots have yet to be counted.

“I think there’s a lot of work to do in the local justice system. There are realities of an unequal system that needs to be taken seriously in our courts,” Jones said. “My plan is to be aware of the problems and listen to solutions, and make a better court for the county and for all the people in the county.”

Jones said he will focus on enforcing court rules and case law to make sure lawyers and jurors are not subject to bias in the courtroom.  

“We need to make jurors aware that this is a thing [implicit bias] that they need to be on guard against when they’re asked to make a decision,” Jones said.

According to the Bellingham Herald, Jones has said he is focused on making improvements to alternative sentencing and pretrial release programs. He plans to expand on programs such as the mental health court and the drug court to address problems with offenders.

“This would give real new opportunities to work with the lead program that’s coming to Whatcom County and hopefully has judicial involvement in the lead program as an alternative to traditional sentencing, traditional criminal justice,” Jones said.

How is your victory a victory for people under 25 in Whatcom County?

Jones, who teaches Constitutional Law at Whatcom Community College, said he’s looking forward to including young people in discussions about the justice system and helping them understand how to bring change. 

“I’ve always felt that it’s very important that a judge is a part of the community discussion about criminal justice and about the law, and because of my experience as a teacher, I think I can talk to younger kids in a meaningful way about how they can be involved,” Jones said.

CONGRESSIONAL POSITION 2

By Linnea Hoover

Democrat Rick Larsen is projected to keep his seat as the U.S. Representative for Congressional District 2 by a wide margin, according to the Washington Secretary of State website as of 10:13 on Nov. 3. 

Larsen leads with 220,866 votes, 65.44% of the total votes. Larsen’s opponent, Republican Timothy S. Hazelo, trails with 34.35% of the votes, or 115,911 votes as of 10:13 on Nov. 3. 

“I am inspired by the strength and resilience of workers, families, students and small business owners across Northwest Washington, whose experiences drive me to fight for an economy that works for everyone,” Larsen said on his website

According to his website, Larsen’s campaign focused on healthcare, agriculture, immagration reform and education. 

Hazelo ran on a platform of economic debt and budgeting, healthcare and drug costs as well as law and order, according to his website

“Americans deserve accountability and a leaner government that prioritizes upholding the Constitution and serving its citizens,” Hazelo said on his campaign website

POSITION 1

By Linnea Hoover

Democrat Alicia Rule is expected to win the race for 42nd Legislative District Position 1. As of 10:13 on Nov. 3, Rule held 43,928 votes and a 51.44% majority. Her Republican opponent, Luanne Van Werven, had 41,402 votes and 48.48%.

Vote counts can be found on the Whatcom County auditor elections division website

“Everyone is feeling good,” Rule said. “We’re cautiously optimistic, and there are still votes to be counted. We ran a great race.”

Rule ran a campaign supporting affordable housing, living wage jobs and moral responsibility, according to her website.

“I want my children to be able to afford to live in Whatcom County, and we must continue to make investments that keep living wage jobs right here,” Rule said on her campaign site

Van Werven outlined her support of economic vitality, job opportunities, water rights for farmers and school reform, according to her Facebook page.

“It’s important we prioritize our spending and ensure critical services and projects receive proper attention in the budgeting process,” Van Werven said on her website.

POSITION 2

By Linnea Hoover

Democrat Sharon Shewmake is expected to win the 42nd Legislative District Position 2. She appears to have outpaced her Republican opponent, Jennifer Sefzik, tallying 44,395 votes and a 52.06% majority as of 10:13 on Nov. 3. Her opponent Jennifer Sefzik has 40,808 at 47.85%. 

Vote counts can be found on the Whatcom County auditor elections division website.

One of Shewmake’s campaign staff members said everyone is grateful for the confidence of the voters, but the campaign is still waiting for all the votes to come in.

Shewmake ran her campaign in support of safely reopening small businesses during COVID-19, improving access to high-speed internet in rural locations and working to make it so farmers can sell directly to consumers, according to her website.

“As a mom, economist, and college professor, I’m committed to making policy decisions based on science and fact,” Shewmake said on her website.  

Jennifer Sefzik ran her campaign in support of, what she calls on her website, fighting fire with F.I.R.E.: financial responsibility, individual rights, representing the 42nd District, environment and quality of life.

“F.I.R.E. is my four-part formula for saving our state and Whatcom County from extremist policies,” Sefzik wrote on her website

One of the platforms Sefzik ran her campaign on was the rejection of Referendum 90. R-90 is in support of a comprehensive sex education program. More information can be found on the website for the Washington Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction. 


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