Last year, the establishment Democrats, using the Democratic National Committee, worked to block the insurgent campaign of Bernie Sanders. After he bowed out, he urged his supporters to run for local office. One of the people he inspired is local social worker and activist, Amy Glasser, who at the beginning of this year launched her campaign for the brand new North Bellingham County Council district.
Unfortunately, the establishment is always looking for ways to keep the activists out. Todd Donovan, who is only one and a half years into his four-year term on the County Council, saw her run as a personal affront. So he decided in May to also run for the North Bellingham County Council district seat, entering the race five months after Glasser and two years early. As he explained in the Cascadia Weekly July 12 issue, “She is free, anyone is free, to run for office. But I think it should be understood in the context of taking someone who is on the Council off the Council. Because that is the effect . . . It will be interesting in future races, because some of us on the Council will not be viable, will not be elected, in the new districts. So we’re looking at a coming shift on the Council, a conservative shift, and I think the hope of many progressives was that progressives themselves would not complicate that shift.”
To fend off this progressive challenger, Donovan is pulling out all the stops. He sent a mailer to Whatcom Democrats accusing Glasser of not being a real Democrat because she had protested against Gov. Inslee (photo 2 above); he has assailed Glasser on facebook, accusing her of illegal election spending with a “shadowy PAC,” while neither providing documentation nor filing a complaint with the PDC (photo 3); he has badgered her on social media, whining that she wants him, personally, removed from the council (photo 4); as a WWU prof, he’s even used his access to the student database to follow the activities of a Glasser supporter and one of his critics (photo 5).
His latest election tactic has been to flood the district with mailers promoting the Republican candidate. This mailer includes a nice picture of Daniel Collick and states that he is supported by the Whatcom Republicans. It is an encouragement to vote for Collick if you aren’t aware there is a third candidate available to you: Amy Glasser. You may even assume that Collick paid for the advertisement. But you would be wrong.
Donovan is attempting to drive up Collick’s vote total to squeeze Glasser out of the “Top Two” primary. To promote his conservative opponent at the expense of a fellow progressive is deeply disappointing. This sort of heavy-handed dirty politics may be a sad fact of presidential races but it has no place in Whatcom County politics.
Glasser and Donovan have some key policy differences: their approaches to affordable housing, the jail, and how to protect Lake Whatcom. It would be a shame if, once again, the establishment buried a robust discussion of the issues behind shady electioneering.