News

Wallace will run as a Dem

A fired Island County deputy who was running as a Republican candidate for sheriff has switched horses just two months from the primary election.

Ousted sheriff’s deputy Jay Wallace is now running as a Democrat in the race for sheriff.

That move leaves three Republicans to fight it out in the Sept. 19 primary: Mark Brown, William Dennis and Lenny Marlborough.

Some political observers, and a few of the candidates themselves, have said the race for sheriff will be decided in the primary election. Wallace’s shift to the Democrat party adds a new twist to the race.

It was an unexpected turn for Island County Democrats, as well.

Wallace did not notify the Island County Democratic Party of his intentions to change his political affiliation.

Island County Democratic Party chairwoman Grethe Cammermeyer said he did not alert the local Democratic party of his intention to run as a Democrat.

“He has never contacted us. He has apparently decided himself to run as a Democrat. He has self-anointed himself,” Cammermeyer said.

“I don’t know the gentleman,” she said.

However, she added Wallace does not need the party’s approval to run.

“But you would hope he was not just a disheartened Republican,” she said.

Wallace’s jump to the Democrat party came via a candidate’s registration form that was filed with the state Public Disclosure Commission Friday, June 23.

So far, Wallace is the only declared Democrat in the race.

Attempts by The South Whidbey Record to contact Wallace were unsuccessful. Wallace’s campaign Website is still online, but the telephone number for his

campaign headquarters has been disconnected. He did not return phone calls or e-mails from the Record.

Wallace has had a strained relationship with the press in recent months.

Island County Sheriff Mike Hawley fired Wallace in April following a two-month investigation, which found that he had shirked his duty when he failed to adequately respond to two 911 calls from a woman who was kidnapped and assaulted in Freeland. The woman later escaped from her captor and called police.

Wallace was placed on administrative leave after the 911 controversy on Feb. 7 and was fired in April.

Officials said that Wallace lied about the incident to investigators. He was “discharged for cause” following an internal probe that was conducted by a special investigator selected by Hawley.

The review of a criminal case against Wallace is still pending in the state attorney general’s office.

The attorney general is conducting its own investigation and will make a recommendation to the Island County Prosecutor to either drop the case or file criminal charges.

Wallace earlier claimed that Hawley’s decision to discharge him was politically motivated.

Wallace was also the subject of a Record story after he claimed to have received three bronze “Medals of Valor” from the San Francisco Police Department, but backed away from that claim after the San Francisco Police Commission said it could only find records for two medals.

During the county’s GOP convention in Oak Harbor April 24, Wallace received just one vote from his fellow Republicans. He said then he would stay in the race, and hinted that he might run as an independent.

Community Events, April 2014

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