Get ready for a complicated election season in Whatcom County.
Friday was the last day for candidates to file for the Nov. 7 general election, which will be the first with new Whatcom County Council districts that voters approved in 2016. Also up for election are City Council seats in Bellingham, Lynden and Ferndale, and two seats on Bellingham Port Commission.
The County Council will have representatives in five districts that will be elected only by voters who live there, plus two at-large seats that everyone votes on. All terms are four years.
Seats in new Districts 1, 2 and 3, plus one at-large seat, are up for election in 2017. Seats in new Districts 4 and 5, plus another at-large seat, will be up for election in 2019.
The new districts are: 1-South Bellingham, 2-North Bellingham, 3-Foothills, 4-Farmlands and 5-Coastal.
Council members in the A positions in the current three districts and the current at-large position are up for re-election in 2017. Representatives in the B positions in the current three-district system will remain on the council until 2019 elections.
Current council members Ken Mann and Carl Weimer opted to not run for re-election.
Current B position representative Todd Donovan would retain his current seat until 2019 elections if he is not elected to a new district. If he is elected to a new district, the council would appoint a replacement for the two years remaining on his term in the old district.
Here are the candidates for 2017’s non-partisan races, according to the Whatcom County Assessor’s website. The top two candidates in the Aug. 1 primary advance to the Nov. 7 general election.
Council District 1-South Bellingham: Rud Browne, the current at-large council member, and Philip Morgan are running for the new District 1 position.
Council District 2-North Bellingham: Todd Donovan, who holds the current District 1, position B, seat is running for the new District 2 seat. Also running for District 2 are Daniel Collick and Amy Glasser.
Council District 3-Foothills: Rebecca Boonstra, Tyler Byrd and Clifford Langley are running for District 3.
Council at-large: All county voters will select from current District 1 council member Barry Buchanan and Mary Kay Robinson for the at-large position.
Port of Bellingham
As long as the Port of Bellingham has three members, it will follow the old council districts for the commissioners who are elected for four-year terms.
District 1: Incumbent Dan Robbins will face challengers Nicholas Kunkel and Michael Shepard.
District 2: Ken Bell, Doug Karlberg and Barry Wenger are running for the seat currently held by Mike McAuley, who is not running for re-election.
Council Ward 2: Incumbent Gene Knutson is running unopposed.
Council Ward 4: Incumbent Pinky Vargas is running unopposed.
Council Ward 6: Incumbent Michael Lilliquest will face challenger Quenby Peterson.
Council at-large: Incumbent Roxanne Murphy will face challengers Eric Bostrom and Jean Layton for the two-year term.
Municipal Court judge: Debra Lev is running unopposed.
Council Position 5: Incumbent Cathy Watson seeks re-election and will face Derrick Watson.
Council Position 6: Connie Faria and Kate Hansen are running for the seat currently held for Carol Bersch, who is not running for re-election.
Council Position 7: Matt Hansen and Fred Kennedy are running for seat currently held by Brent Goodrich, who is not running for re-election.
Mayor: Incumbent Scott Korthuis is running unopposed.
Council Position 5: Incumbent Nick Laninga is running unopposed.
Council Position 6: Incumbent John Lathrop will face challenger Kyle Strengholt.
Council Position 7: Incumbent David Burns will face challenger Mark Wohlrab.
Elections also are being held for the cities of Blaine, Everson, Nooksack, Sumas; plus numerous school, cemetery, fire and other districts. See the full list online.
The Whatcom County Auditor’s Office, http://www.whatcomcounty.us/1728/Voters, has links to help you register to vote, get a ballot, find a ballot drop box and check if your ballot has been received.
Some dates to remember about the 2017 elections:
- Primary ballots will be mailed July 12.
- Primary election is Aug. 1.
- General election ballots will be mailed Oct. 18.
- Last day to register to vote is Oct. 30. After Oct. 9 registration must be done in person at the auditor’s office, 311 Grand Ave., Suite 103, Bellingham.
- General election is Nov. 7.