Gary Jensen Not Running for State Senate

By On

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.

About John Servais

Citizen Journalist and Editor • Fairhaven, Washington USA • Member since Feb 26, 2008

John started Northwest Citizen in 1995 to inform fellow citizens of serious local political issues that the Bellingham Herald was ignoring. With the help of donors from the beginning, he has [...]

Comments by Readers

Hue Beattie

Dec 16, 2013

Kelli Linville would be perfect to defeat Doug E.


Delaine Clizbe

Dec 17, 2013

Sad that he lists as a reason for not running that he feared the campaign would be a negative affair.  What would give him that fear?  The last County Council races perhaps?  They represented some of the most negative campaigning I have seen.  And it certainly wasn’t the Conservatives being negative.  Unfortunately, what the ugliness does is keep quality people from even wanting to run for office. 

However, I’m sure the Bellingham Democrat Political Mafia has already put together a plan and a candidate…....


Terry Wechsler

Dec 17, 2013

Delaine, Gross distortion of reality doesn’t further a conversation. Three words. Fake Browne website.


Karl Uppiano

Dec 18, 2013

Three words: Dead meat mailers.


Terry Wechsler

Dec 24, 2013

Karl, Carl and Ken voted against the slaughterhouse—oh, excuse me, the “packinghouse”—ordinance. Kathy and Bill voted for it. Michelle and Ben drafted the mess that the council tried to fix for a year before voting. That ordinance was an issue for a lot of people in the county, including small organic farmers. I personally wouldn’t have designed the mailer to look like that, but making the industrial upzone of our ag lands an issue in the campaign was not “going negative.” It wasn’t based on a lie, either, so again, the right makes a false equivalence. “Both sides did it.” No, and both sides did not lie about their sources of income, either. Both Kathy and Ben expressly slammed Ken and Carl for benefitting from out-of-state money, referring to a donor to WCV which ran an independent expenditure campaign, meaning Carl and Ken did not receive the money. Both deliberately did so AFTER it was widely reported that SaveWhatcom had been funded by out-of-county and out-of-state money from pro-coal interests to fund an IE campaign to benefit them. Rather, they were silent when SaveWhatcom transferred money to Whatcom First so campaign literature wouldn’t have to disclose the true funders such as SSA and BNSF. That money was used to flood us with mailers claiming Progressive candidates are “anti-jobs,” code for anti-coal terminal. Lies and hypocrisy don’t work so well in this venue. Save them for your FB pages where you’ve blocked people like me from being able to comment and post links supporting counterarguments.