On vote totals and viability

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Fri, Aug 31, 2007, 4:18 am  //  John Servais

A morning comment or two on the election and then time to enjoy the long weekend. No pretension to any real insights. Just a bit on what most of us are noticing and reliable insiders - political junkies - have provided me.

More than one insider has pointed out how the Bellingham School Board contest drew more votes than the mayor's. What does this mean? Well, for one thing you should know that there is a large urban area outside the city boundary that votes for and pays taxes to the Bellingham School Board. But even with a larger voter base it is amazing that so much interest was on this usually below-the-radar non-paid position. Perhaps there are some school issues that are bothering people and that have not been noticed by our media. Emily, who won strongly, campaigned vigorously as an outsider and mother of school-age kids. She wants to "improve" our local schools. The fall campaign between her and Bashaw should see real issues. I hope the political forums will make room for these two. The voters obviously take this seriously.

And on vote totals - Ham Hayes garnered more votes than Bob Ryan. This screams the question: where did all the conservative votes go? Lilliquist and Bjornson are both very liberal. Ryan was without question the most conservative of the prime five mayoral candidates. What happened? I think conservatives recognized that Ryan could not win and put their votes with Pike. And the conservatives did not see Hayes as viable and voted for Lilliquist.

Which brings up Keenan and Pike. Pike was judged not "viable" by the whole local liberal elite and they are just astounded that Pike beat Keenan. This was supposed to end up Keenan and either McShane, Fleetwood or Ryan. Their world is upside down for the moment. They have a dilemma in supporting either Pike or McShane - and I will explore that in a future post.

A persistent question is what now for the Keenans. While most insiders were very reluctant to predict the mayor's election, they are now very surprised that Don did not make it - and that he came in a very real third, over 800 votes behind Pike. Is there a local political future for either Joy or Don? She was on the city council at one time. They have been power brokers. It is hard to think they will not be back in some role within the next couple years.

Dave Pros lost in his bid for county council. Dave is all that the Democrats, progressives, liberals and moderates could want - and was a perfect replacement for Dan McShane. Ahh, but Lisa McShane picked Bob Kelly and the tribes promised big money and Lisa delivered on her organizations' endorsements. Dave was ignored by the Dems and local liberal elite as Kelly got the constituency that should have been Pros. Lisa was worried as Kelly did not obey her instructions on campaigning but he still easily won.

And, yes, most local insiders know all this. And, yes it is true. And, yes, I have decent info on this. And no, I have no intention of backing off providing you with the fun inside information on local politics. Maybe you might remember two years ago when, as publisher of the Whatcom Independent, I wrote a weekly series of articles called "Candidates, Campaigns & Confabs" which tried to give an inside look at local politics. I still get compliments from those who wanted to keep up with the action. The complaints I am getting this year about this website are all from political operatives who want me to post stuff favorable to their campaigns. And over 50% of the complaints are from one group. So, this will continue. And I appreciate the steady input of inside information from so many readers.

Lois Garlick is attracting supporters who have solid local political experience. Of course I am supporting her. A future post will tell the charming story of her filing for the county executive office.

Ken Mann is putting together a good campaign organization. Good for him. He is a very strong challenger to Sam Crawford. And, yes, I endorse him fully.

Finally, on the mayor's race, expect the Democratic Party to endorse McShane and Pike. John McGarrity, the head of endorsements, tried a move to give it to only McShane but that failed. The Dems endorsed four candidates in the primary and would have looked pretty dumb to withdraw it from Pike.

Well, one more thing. There are witch hunts for those providing me with information. If you have and you are asked if you talked to me or gave me information just answer with whatever you want. I will not be telling anyone about who is talking to me. Funny is the fact that some who blast me for reporting on one candidate then applaud me for reporting on another. The effort for secrecy is stronger this campaign than I have ever seen it. And this information is of value to citizens in deciding who to vote for. Enjoy the Labor Day weekend. The campaigns begin next week.
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