Ousted deputy gets just one vote at GOP convention

Fired deputy and Island County sheriff candidate Jay Wallace received just one vote from his fellow Republicans during the county’s GOP convention in Oak Harbor Saturday.

But two other candidates in the four-man race for county sheriff battled to a near tie in the effort to qualify as a Republican Party candidate.

All told, three of the four candidates — Mark Brown, William (De) Dennis and Lenny Marlborough — each earned the required number of delegate votes to run as a Republican. Candidates needed to wrap up 25 percent of the vote, or at least 14 of the 55 delegate votes.

Brown received 20; Dennis was a close second at 19 and Marlborough just made it with 15 votes.

The 2006 Island County Republican Convention was held at Oak Harbor Christian School. Each candidate gave a 10-minute speech outlining their qualifications.

Brown credited his speech with putting him in front of the other three candidates.

“I focused on three key issues affecting citizens of Island County; drug enforcement, protecting our citizens, especially our children, and improving traffic safety on rural roads.”

“I am pleased to be the Republican candidate of choice at the convention,” Brown said.

Brown made a personal pitch to all the Republican delegates by sending them a letter several weeks before the convention.

The letter asked for their support and emphasized Brown’s commitment to “shared conservative principals and family values.”

“I think introducing myself in the letter to the delegates was important, but ultimately, I think they made their decision based on my speech,” he said.

Delegate Don Jewett agreed that Brown’s letter did not sway his final decision, though Jewett did not say who he ultimately supported.

“I received the letter ahead of the convention. It did give me a head’s up on Mark’s qualifications. But I waited to hear from the other three candidates the day of the convention to make a decision,” Jewett said.

Name familiarity did not appear to work for all the candidates.

Wallace had made headlines in recent weeks after he was named as the subject in an internal investigation and was ultimately fired for lying on a report of a 911 incident in Freeland in February.

Wallace’s one and only vote was cast by Jo Balda, a delegate from Oak Harbor.

Wallace told the delegates that he would be exonerated of any wrongdoing.

“I was the one and only vote for Jay,” Balda said.

“I think he is the most qualified of all four candidates to be sheriff. With all his experience and many accolades I think he would make a wonderful sheriff,” she said.

Referring to the investigation into his conduct in the 911 incident, Balda said Wallace did not get a fair shake.

She believes the investigation by the sheriff’s office was politically motivated.

“I think Jay Wallace is a good man and I will continue to support him,” Balda said.

Wallace can pursue his efforts to run as a Republican, but he said earlier that he would run as an independent if he didn’t receive support from the GOP.

Party officials say Wallace can still try to win support from his party.

“He has an alternative,” said Diana Tebelius, chair of the state Republican Party. Wallace will need a petition signed by 5 percent of the registered Republicans in Island County that says they support him as a Republican candidate.

Another controversial race for Island County prosecutor is uncontested in the Republican Party.

Steve Selby, former chief deputy prosecuting attorney for Island County, was fired last week. His dismissal came soon after he announced his intentions to seek his boss’ job in the November election.

Greg Banks, Island County prosecutor, is a Democrat and will seek re-election.

Selby received an endorsement with unanimous support from all 55 delegates.

Selby got a laugh when he held up a sign that read “Will prosecute for food,” referring to his recent departure for the prosecutor’s office.

“I was very well received at the convention. I got a lot of sympathy and support from people because of Banks’ actions. The sign got a lot of laughs,” Selby said.

In the assessor’s race, Don Mason received a whopping majority of votes with 39. Dan Jones, who just announced last week his intention to run for assessor, received 16, two more votes than he needed to qualify as a Republican.

In other convention business, delegates adopted the Island County Republican Party platform with two additional resolutions.

The first resolution centered on state trooper inspections of cars on Washington State ferries; the second said parents should give permission for sex education classes before their children are enrolled in such classes.

“They need permission at the beginning of the class rather than after their students are already in them,” said Carol Graham, a member of the platform committee.

“The entire platform approval process went smoothly. It was unprecedented approval of the entire statement. which mirrors the national GOP platform,” Graham said.

“We added our support for the current use of state troopers to inspect vehicles riding on Washington State ferries,” said Bill Carruthers, a state committeeman who will represent the county GOP along with other local delegates at the state convention in Yakima next month.

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