Whatcom Republicans re-elect top leadership for 2015-16

Whatcom County Republicans mostly stood pat with its leadership after favorable outcomes in the 2014 elections.

Four of the top six county officer positions were won by incumbents in elections held Saturday, Dec. 13, at Meridian High School.

Chairman Charlie Crabtree and Vice-chairwoman Eileen Sobjack retained their seats for another two years. State Committeeman Greg Brown won another term, as did Treasurer Terry Cox.

Newcomers among Republican Party officers are State Committeewoman Caroline Anderson and Secretary Maureen Danielson.

The previously elected committeewoman was Luanne Van Werven, who resigned from the position in May to begin her successful bid to become a state representative. Van Werven’s successor, ex-County Council member Kathy Kershner, resigned in October, leaving that position vacant for last weekend’s election, Crabtree said.

Previous Secretary J.R. Johnson chose not to run again, Crabtree said.

County Republicans bounced back from the disappointing 2013 County Council elections, in which Kershner and the three other Republican-endorsed candidates lost. In 2014, Republicans won decisively in all three races in the state’s 42nd Legislative District, comprised of north Whatcom County and north Bellingham.

County voters in 2014 also elected nine conservatives to the 15-member Charter Review Commission, which will convene beginning next month, Crabtree said. Republicans will lobby the commission to change the county charter in ways that are favorable to conservatives. That could include making council elections “district only,” such that candidates only receive votes from within the district where they live. Crabtree and some other Republicans believe that will give the rural county better representation on the council.

One goal for 2016, Crabtree said, is to field viable candidates in the 40th Legislative District, which includes south Bellingham and parts of the south county, San Juan County, and part of Skagit County. All three 40th District seats are held by Democrats.

“We want to work hard to see some kind of opposition in the 40th,” Crabtree said, “and I have no idea who that would be at this time.”

Republican precinct committee officers on Saturday elected Nick Evans to the party’s executive board, representing Council District 3. Evans had resigned as the party’s political director in September, following his arrest on a domestic violence charge.

Evans pleaded guilty on Dec. 4 to a lesser charge of disorderly conduct, with a 90-day jail sentence suspended. The case will be dismissed if Evans doesn’t break the law in the next 12 months, according to Evans’ attorney, Jane Boman. The initial domestic-violence charge followed an argument between Evans and his ex-wife in their Bellingham home on Sept. 14.

The arrest came during Evans’ campaign for Charter Review Commission. Evans lost, finishing ninth in a field of 12 in his district. The top-five vote-getters won commission seats.