Campaigns, county get busy as primary approaches

Governor to visit Whidbey next week

It’s going to get busy for candidates over the next few weeks.

At least four public forums have been scheduled for voters to meet candidates running for office. Add to the mix the Democratic Party’s big fundraiser this weekend, SummerFest, and a visit by Gov. Christine Gregoire to Whidbey next week.

The North Whidbey Republican Women will also host their summer barbecue and candidates forum at the home of Kathy Jones, chairwoman of the Island County GOP, from 2 to 6 p.m. Saturday, July 26.

The forums kick off when League of Women Voters of South Whidbey Island host a candidates’ night at 6:30 p.m. July 24 at Trinity Lutheran Church.

The forum will include candidates for Island County commissioner, District 1; Island County Superior Court judge, Position 2, state senator for District 10, and Positions 1 and 2 for District 10 in the state House of Representatives.

Questions for the candidates can be e-mailed to the moderator, Barbara Seitle, president of the state League of Women Voters, at

The League of Women Voters of Whidbey Island will sponsor two candidates and issues nights; 7 p.m. Tuesday, July 29 at the Oak Harbor Elks Club and 7 p.m. Thursday, July 31 at Coupeville Recreation Hall.

The Oak Harbor Elks Club is located at 155 NE Ernst, Oak Harbor. Coupeville Rec Hall is at 901 NW Alexander, Coupeville.

The Clinton Progressive Association will also host a candidates’ night.

The Clinton forum is 7 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 5 and features candidates in the race for Island County commissioner. It will be held at Clinton Community Hall.

Hot dogs will be served before the forum from 6 to 6:45 p.m., thanks to the Clinton Chamber of Commerce.

County election workers have been busy getting ready for the state’s first-ever top-two primary on Aug. 19.

Ballots arrived in Coupeville from the printers early this week. On Monday afternoon, representatives from the Washington Secretary of State’s Office came to Coupeville to test the accuracy of Island County’s election equipment.

Island County Auditor Sheilah Crider said the county “passed with flying colors — as expected.”

Jones, from the Republican Party, and Diane Kendy, from the Democratic Party, were on hand to observe the testing, Crider said.

The first ballots — those going to military service members overseas — will be mailed on Friday, July 18. The rest of the ballots will be mailed July 30.

The local voters’ pamphlet will be in the mail by the end of the month along with ballots to local voters, Crider added.

This year, there are a number of contested races in the primary.

In Congress, District 2 Democrat Rick Larsen, the incumbent, is being challenged for his seat in the House of Representatives by Republican Rick Bart and fellow Democrats Doug Schaffer and Glen S. Johnson.

In state races, incumbent 10th District Sen. Mary Margaret Haugen, D-Camano Island, is running against Republican Linda Haddon and America’s Third Party Candidate Sarah Hart.

Incumbent state Rep. Barbara Bailey, R-Oak Harbor, is running to retain her 10th District, Position 2 seat in the House of Representatives against Democrats Patricia Terry and Ann McDonald.

And in the race for District 1 Island County commissioner, incumbent Republican Phil Bakke is facing fellow Republican Reece Rose, Democrat Helen Price Johnson and no-party candidate Curt Gordon.

Next week, the governor will visit Whidbey Island to campaign. Her visit follows a trip to Whidbey this week by her opponent, former state Sen. Dino Rossi.

Rossi came to Oak Harbor on Tuesday for a fundraising luncheon to support Republican Norma Smith’s campaign to retain her 10th District seat in the state house.

Gregoire’s campaign stop in Langley is set for 2 p.m. Monday, July 21.

Haugen will be traveling with the governor to Langley, and the 10th District senator will introduce Gregoire to voters at the small stage next to Useless Bay Coffee Company on Second Street.

After the rally on the lawn, Gregoire plans a walk up First Street to visit with merchants.

Earlier on Monday, Gregoire will attend a luncheon sponsored by the Island County Economic Development Council.

According to the EDC, Gov. Gregoire will make remarks and take questions from the audience. The luncheon is 11:30 a.m. July 21 in the commons at Coupeville High School. Representatives from chambers of commerce on Whidbey will also attend.

The governor will also make a stop on Whidbey Island the day before her series of public appearances in Langley and Coupeville.

Gregoire will attend a private reception hosted by the Whidbey Island Democratic Club on Sunday, July 20. She will talk about her reelection campaign with members of the club, party activists, precinct committee officers and other elected officials, and candidates in the upcoming election.

The invitation-only event will be held at the home of Trudy Sundberg, a founder of the Whidbey Island Democratic Club and a longtime Democratic Party supporter.

Islanders who wish to attend the EDC luncheon should call 360-678-6889 to RSVP.

People interested in attending the North Whidbey Republican Women should RSVP with Jo Balda at 360-679-4595.

Democratic candidates will also speak at SummerFest, the party’s annual fundraiser. This year’s SummerFest is from 5 to 9 p.m. Saturday, July 19 in Langley.

For more information about SummerFest, contact Mary Brencick at or 360-672-2397.

The primary is Aug. 19.

Voters have until Saturday, July 19 to register on the Internet or update their voter registration for the primary.

Citizens on Whidbey not currently registered to vote have until Aug. 4 to register in person in Coupeville before the primary.

Ballot drop boxes for Island County will be located from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Election Day at Trinity Lutheran Church, Freeland; Oak Harbor School District, Oak Harbor; Camano Annex, Camano Island and Island County Elections Office, 400 E. Main St., Coupeville.

A ballot drop box in the Island County Elections Office, 400 E Main St., Coupeville will be available from 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. daily before the primary.

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