Bellingham port races still tight; Robbins, McAuley hold leads


2013 elections


BELLINGHAM - The two Port of Bellingham commission races tightened a tiny bit after ballot counting on Thursday, Nov. 7, and both races are too close to call with an estimated 8,000 ballots remaining to count.

In the District 1 race, Dan Robbins now leads Renata Kowalczyk 50.9 percent to 49.1 percent, a lead that amounts to 821 votes.

Robbins and Kowalczyk are seeking the seat that incumbent Scott Walker will vacate at the end of 2013.

In the District 2 race, incumbent Mike McAuley leads Ken Bell by a slightly larger margin, with a 1,017-vote lead. McAuley is seeking a second four-year term on the countywide port district's three-person governing body.

Unless the makeup of the remaining votes is significantly different from those counted Thursday, Nov. 7, Robbins and McAuley will be the winners.

McAuley had strong backing from local Democrats in the nonpartisan election, while Robbins was endorsed by Republicans. With Democrats sweeping the four County Council races on the ballot, Robbins would be the only successful Republican-backed countywide candidate.

The port district owns and manages Bellingham International Airport, marinas in Blaine and Bellingham, a deep-water shipping terminal and a variety of waterfront real estate. It has about 100 employees.

In the next four years, the port is expected to move ahead in earnest on long-awaited redevelopment of waterfront real estate left dormant when Georgia-Pacific Corp. suspended Bellingham operations.

Reach John Stark at 360-715-2274 or Read his Politics Blog at or follow him on Twitter at @bhamheraldpolitics.

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