Whatcom's 2014 elections to be competitive - some more than others

THE BELLINGHAM HERALDMay 16, 2014 

The field is set for the 2014 elections in Whatcom County.

Most of the races this year are competitive. How competitive remains to be seen.

U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen, D-Everett, must defeat an Independent and a Republican to earn his eighth term representing Bellingham. Mike Lapointe, the Independent, ran against Larsen in 2012 as a representative of the "99% Party." He took 4.2 percent of the vote in the primary. Republican B.J. Guillot of Everett ran for a state House seat in 2012, finishing fourth of four in the primary with 3.8 percent of the vote.

The other member of Congress representing Whatcom County, freshman Suzan DelBene, D-Medina, will need to campaign harder to keep her seat. The most promising among the six candidates challenging her is Pedro Celis, a Republican born in Mexico who could appeal to a broader base of voters than other members of his party in recent elections.

One of five seats in the state Legislature that is up for election this year was vacated by the incumbent. Four people seek to fill the void left by Jason Overstreet, R-Lynden, in the 42nd District. One is Bill Knutzen, a Republican. He was a Whatcom County Council member from 2010 to 2013.

At first glance he would appear to be an underdog to fellow Republican Luanne Van Werven, who is a state party vice chair. She also seeks Overstreet's seat. Knutzen agreed that he may not get campaign contributions from the party this year.

"I'm not really running against any one person. I'm running for the position," Knutzen said on Friday, May 16. He said he is familiar with issues that are important in the county.

"I want to continue to represent the people of Whatcom County," Knutzen said.

If either Republican wins (there's also a Libertarian and a Democrat on the ticket), they should be less confrontational than Overstreet, who often was out of step with the mainstream of either party in the House. Both Van Werven and Knutzen said they work well with others.

State Rep. Jeff Morris, D-Mount Vernon, has no challenger. Neither does Dave McEachran, the county's Republican prosecutor, who is unopposed for his 11th term in the office.

Turnout was high for the once-in-a-decade opportunity to reshape the county government as a member of the Charter Review Commission. Five members will be elected from each of the three county districts. A total of 51 people filed. The commission can propose changes to the county charter that would be ultimately decided by a public vote.

Charter commission candidates will be on the general election ballot, on Nov. 4.

Other races with three or more candidates will be in the primary election, on Aug. 5. The top two vote-getters in the primary, regardless of party, advance to the general election.

The order candidates will appear on the ballot is determined by random drawing.

Candidates who have filed to represent districts that include Whatcom County (party, I=incumbent):

U.S. Congressional District 1 (Rural county, small cities):

-- Suzan DelBene (D, I)

-- Mike The Mover (National Union)

-- Ed Moats (R)

-- Richard J. Todd (none)

-- Pedro Celis (R)

-- Robert J. Sutherland (R)

-- John Orlinski (R)

U.S. Congressional District 2 (Bellingham, southwest county):

-- Mike Lapointe (Ind.)

-- Rick Larsen (D)

-- B.J. Guillot (R)

40th Legislative District (south Bellingham, southwest county):

Rep. Position 1

-- Kristine Lytton (D, I)

-- Dan Miller (R)

Rep. Position 2

-- Jeff Morris (D, I)

42nd Legislative District (north Bellingham, small cities, rural county):

Senator

-- Doug Ericksen (R, I)

-- Seth Fleetwood (D)

Rep. Position 1

-- Bill Knutzen (R)

-- Luanne Van Werven (R)

-- Nicholas Kunkel (Libertarian)

-- Satpal Sidhu (D)

Rep. Position 2

-- Vincent Buys (R, I)

-- Joy Monjure (D)

Whatcom County Prosecuting Attorney

-- Dave McEachran (R, I)

Whatcom District Court Judge

Position 1

-- David Grant (I)

Position 2

-- Matt Elich (I)

Charter Review Commission

District 1

-- Delaine Clizbe

-- Bob Hall

-- Dick Donahue

-- Tony Wallace

-- Orphalee Smith

-- Larry Helm

-- Kent S. Murray

-- Tom Walstrom

-- Stoney Bird

-- Nancy Metcalf

-- Bob Burr

-- Todd Donovan

-- Barbara Ryan

-- Michele Stelovich

-- Bruce Clawson

-- Eli Mackiewicz

-- Thomas Stuen

-- Gabe Martin

-- Kevin Byford

-- Alison (Alie) Walker

District 2

-- Chet Dow

-- Susan Gribbin

-- Judd Morse

-- Bob Bandarra

-- Larry Nicholas

-- Stan Snapp

-- Sherry Nelson

-- Kate Blystone

-- Rebecca Boonstra

-- Joe Elenbaas

-- Cliff Langley

-- Ben Elenbaas

-- Branden Brink

-- Matt Weeda

-- Ken Bell

-- Dave Bock

-- Bob Johnson

-- Atul Deshmane

District 3

-- Jon Mutchler

-- Richard May

-- Wes Kentch

-- Nick Evans

-- John Lesow

-- Bob Cecile

-- Karl Uppiano

-- Ralph Black

-- Chris Johnson

-- Linda Cain

-- John K. Munson

-- Yvonne Goldsmith

-- Eileen Sobjack

Public Utility District commissioner

-- Jeffrey McClure (I)

-- Bob Burr

-- Matthew Goggins

Reach Ralph Schwartz at 360-715-2289 or ralph.schwartz@bellinghamherald.com. Read his Politics blog at bellinghamherald.com/politics-blog or get updates on Twitter at @bhampolitics.

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