Gary Jensen, the mayor of Ferndale, has decided to not file for the 42nd state Senate seat in 2014, a seat now held by Doug Ericksen. Instead, he will serve out his next two years as mayor of Ferndale.
He spent several months talking with local leaders and political groups about a campaign to replace Ericksen. Local political junkies on the left and right have had trouble deciding how they felt about this. While Gary would have run as a Democrat, most local Democratic Party leaders seemed unsure of him. Virtually all want Ericksen replaced, but in conversation, the local Ds have been ambivalent about supporting Gary.
In a phone conversation with Gary today, he said he feared the campaign would become a negative affair and he does not want to run nor win an election in that manner.
Gary is a strong personality and a very up-front mayor. People know where he stands on issues and he has a straight forward approach to issues and public processes. He was seen by most as the most viable challenger to Ericksen.
Meanwhile, Doug is rumored to be considering a run for the U.S. congressional seat in the 1st District, currently held by Democrat Susan DelBene. If he does, Jason Overstreet may well run for Ericksen's state Senate seat and, so the political gossip goes, Kathy Kershner, who just lost her reelection bid to the County Council, will run for Overstreet's state legislative seat. Yes, musical chairs of the conservatives.
Added note: a check of PDC filings shows Kathy lives in the 40th district. Unless she moves, she cannot run for a 42nd district seat.
All that aside and as stated above, Gary Jensen has been seen by those on the left and right as having the best chance of defeating and replacing Doug Ericksen. With Gary's decision to not run, the question comes back to local liberals of who will they run, either against Ericksen or for his vacated state Senate seat. I have heard of no obvious contenders. No doubt, it will now become a primary subject of discussion for Whatcom political junkies.