Politics Blog

A win for Whatcom Wins

All the hard work has paid off in the form of recognition for Whatcom Wins, the local Democrats' campaign in 2013 to get four progressive county council candidates elected.

The campaign was named Overall Best Field Program of 2013 at the 2014 Reed Awards, held earlier this month in Washington, D.C.

The Reed Awards are dispensed by Campaigns & Elections, a monthly journal of politics.

Lisa McShane was one of the faces of Whatcom Wins. Lehman McShane Strategies, a political consulting firm started by McShane and Bellingham City Council member Cathy Lehman, announced the award in a press release last week. 

As the release makes clear, McShane and other headliners at Whatcom Wins -- county Democratic Chairman Mike Estes and Alex Ramel of Whatcom Conservation Voters among them -- were part of a large team that made Whatcom Wins successful.

Whatcom Wins got behind county council incumbents Ken Mann and Carl Weimer, and challengers Rud Browne and Barry Buchanan. All four won, tipping the balance of the council to majority progressive.

Barely a month into its tenure, the new-look council has already made its mark. It has tightened rules passed just last year allowing slaughterhouses on agricultural land. Through the leadership of newly appointed chairman Weimer, it is putting protection of water quality and quantity on the front burner again.

The council also is intent on restricting growth in the rural areas, as the county and all the cities in it embark on an update of their comprehensive plans that is due in 2016. The county and cities will presume a certain amount of new population between now and 2036, and the comp plan update will try to manage where these new people will live.

Mann proposed on Tuesday afternoon, Feb. 25, adding a provision in a preliminary cities-county agreement that any expansion of a city's urban growth area come with the transfer of development rights from outlying areas into the city. This would foster denser development in cities and keep homes off as-yet-undeveloped rural or agricultural lots.

As for Whatcom Wins, the name was never filed as a political action committee, so it was able to be co-opted by conservative political activist Drew Zinecker, who registered the name as a PAC last month. Look for the future accomplishments of Whatcom Wins to have a decidedly different political cast. We'll see if the name's success rubs off on its new owner.

Incidentally, Zinecker also registered the name of Ramel's group, Whatcom Conservation Voters. Parent organization Washington Conservation Voters, which spent more than $250,000 last year to get the same four county council candidates elected, may take action against Zinecker.

Here's the press release from Lehman McShane Strategies:


February 20, 2014

Lisa McShane, Managing Partner at Lehman McShane Strategies, was honored at the 2014 Reed Awards in Washington, D.C. earlier this month with a trophy for Overall Best Field Program of 2013. She won for the campaign plan, field plan and the mail program for the ‘Whatcom Wins’ coordinated campaign in 2013’s county council election. Also acknowledged were Whatcom Democrats Chair, Mike Estes, and Whatcom Conservation Voters board member, Alex Ramel, as well as Seattle-based consultant, Dean Nielsen.

Whatcom County’s successful ‘Whatcom Wins’ campaign was unusual in that it coordinated four candidate campaigns and swept the Whatcom County Council races, defeating two incumbents. The field campaign worked with over 350 volunteers, made more than 47,000 phone calls and contacted more than 42,000 voters at their doors.

“Just like football, you don’t win without a strong team”, said McShane. “My two co-chairs, Mike and Alex, were also recognized in the awards program. We had 4 strong candidates, talented staff and motivated volunteers. This award is for everyone.”

The Whatcom Wins Leadership Team included Isabel Vanderslice, Natalie McClendon, Matt Krogh, Crina Hoyer, David Stalheim and Cathy Lehman. Mitch Friedman led the charge on fundraising, and the Whatcom Democrats, especially Artemis Oakgrove, were instrumental in managing the field office. Coordinated campaign field staff included Karlee Deatherage, Ethan Gill, Dylan Richardson, Evelyn Kennedy, Ellen Reiche, Matt Bobbink and Galen Herz.

Campaigns & Elections is a journal of politics focused on tools, tactics and techniques of the political consulting profession. The 2014 Reed Awards, named after Campaigns & Elections founder Stanley Foster Reed, embody excellence in political campaigning, campaign management, political consulting and political design. They seek to reward the industry’s best by honoring Republican and Democrat winners across 71 categories for television, radio, direct mail, phones, field, political technology, and online advertising. Chosen from the largest and smallest organizations in the industry, winners represent the latest techniques and talent in political campaigning.  

Lehman McShane Strategies is a political and strategic communications firm headquartered in Bellingham, Washington that works regionally with Tribes, community groups, environmental organizations, and individuals to achieve progressive political goals. McShane has been active in political campaigns for more than 15 years.

More information can be found online at www.lehmanmcshane.com, or by contacting Cathy Lehman at 360.224.8877 or Lisa McShane at 360.201.0779.