Briscoe, Jensen top primary for Port of Bellingham seat

Robert “Bobby” Briscoe and Gary Jensen and will face off this November for the open Port of Bellingham Commission seat.

Jensen and Briscoe bested Lloyd Zimmerman in the top-two primary, according to preliminary election totals released Tuesday night, Aug. 4.

As of 8:15 p.m., Briscoe was in the lead with 44.1 percent of the preliminary totals. Jensen followed in second with 38.8 percent, and Zimmerman had 17.1 percent.

Briscoe, a commercial fisherman, was endorsed by the Whatcom County Democrats, an endorsement Jensen and Zimmerman also had sought in the nonpartisan race. Briscoe also was endorsed by the Bellingham/Whatcom County Fire Fighters IAFF, the Whatcom Commerical Fishermen’s Association, Lummi Indian Business Council, and the Teamsters Union.

Jensen, currently Ferndale mayor, had the backing of outgoing District 3 Commissioner Jim Jorgensen, as well as support from the Whatcom County Republicans.

Zimmerman, a former Ferndale City Council member, had no major endorsements.

Jensen said he felt grateful for the votes he received, and that he would start work Wednesday to get his numbers up by November.

He thought some people may have voted for other candidates based on his support of the proposed Gateway Pacific Terminal, which is not something the port commission will have a say about.

“I still don’t think there’s any question a lot of people are deciding this election on one issue, an issue the port will never vote on,” Jensen said. “That’s frustrating.”

In general, Jensen said he hoped everyone appreciated all the candidates who put their name forward to serve the public.

Briscoe could not be reached for comment Tuesday evening.

Zimmerman suggested that his opponents may have had a stronger showing due to their party endorsements.

“I’m just happy that I ran and I’ll be throwing my support to Bobby Briscoe,” Zimmerman said. “What he doesn’t make up for in his political experience, he makes up for in his person.”

As of 8:15 p.m. Tuesday, Whatcom voter turnout was 21.1 percent. The election results will be finalized on Aug. 18.

Only voters who live in District 3 voted in the top-two port commission primary. The District 3 seat covers most of Whatcom County west of Guide Meridian, stretching from northwest Bellingham to the Canadian border.

The entire county will get to vote between the two candidates come November.

The three-member port commission makes decisions about publicly owned port properties from Fairhaven to Blaine, including marinas, real estate, industrial workspace, the ferry terminal and Bellingham airport.

The commission is currently overseeing the extensive cleanup and redevelopment of the city’s industrial waterfront.

Reach Samantha Wohlfeil at 360-715-2274 or samantha.wohlfeil@bellinghamherald.com. Read the Politics Blog at bellinghamherald.com/politics-blog and follow her on Twitter at @BhamPolitics.