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Island County candidates miss big deadline, won't be in voter's guide

In the first major fumble of the 2008 election in Island County, three candidates for county commissioner missed a deadline last week to be included in the local voter’s guide.

Only one candidate in the commissioner’s race for District 1 — Republican incumbent Phil Bakke — submitted a candidate’s statement and photo to be published in the guide.

Nobody else did. At least, not in time to make the deadline.

The list of no-shows for the commissioner’s race includes Curt Gordon, Democrat Helen Price Johnson and Republican Reece Rose.

Also missing: The statements for ballot proposals to remodel and expand the Coupeville Library.

The publication is sent to every household in Island County. For local candidates and special ballot measures, the guide is a chance to get inside every home, a chance to make a direct, and free, appeal to every voter in Island County.

Island County Auditor Sheilah Crider said candidates were told repeatedly about the deadline after they first walked in to register as candidates.

Some people have also called since the passing of the deadline, asking if there will be an extension.

“There were questions from at least three individuals — not all candidates — as to if there would be an extension on the deadline.

“There is not,” Crider said.

Crider declined to say if anyone tried to submit their candidate statements after the deadline had passed.

She did, however, say the deadline was strictly enforced.

Bending the rules was a non-starter. This year’s election will be closely scrutinized, and elections officials have stressed following the rules from the start, Crider said.

The deadline was “crystal clear,” Crider said, and was spelled out numerous times on the first two pages of the information packet given to candidates. County election workers also talked about the deadline when candidates came in to file for office, Crider said.

For Bakke, it means an unexpected bonanza of exposure. His pitch to retain his seat will sit among three other empty spaces marked with words along the lines of “No statement submitted” by his opponents.

The two candidates who receive the most votes in the primary race will advance to the November election.

Crider said both candidates in the Position 2 commissioner’s race — incumbent Republican Mac McDowell and Democratic challenger Angie Homola — made the deadline.

Crider, a former Oak Harbor councilwoman who is running unopposed for the county auditor’s job, said it was important for her to submit a statement even though she lacks an opponent.

While there is the possibility that some candidates may have chosen not to be in the voter’s guide, Crider said there may be other reasons. People have busy lives, she said.

“Things happen.”

“This is my fifth election to be in, and, no, and I would never choose not to be in it,” she added.

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