An unexpectedly hot race for a position on the board of commissioners for South Whidbey Fire/EMS has come to a happy end for both candidates.
Savannah Erickson and Jim Towers filed to run for Pos. 3 on the board during the county’s special filing period after no one else stepped up to run for the seat being vacated by Frank Mestemacher, who decided not to seek re-election for the six-year term.
As of Thursday evening, Erickson had a healthy lead over Towers, with 3,767 votes, or 58%.
“I’m pretty excited,” Erickson said. “I know there were some things that maybe didn’t make me look like an obvious candidate, but I worked really hard on this campaign.”
Erickson, who worked in communications for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, is a relative newcomer to Whidbey. Her opponent is a longtime resident of the island who has 35 years of experience volunteering with the fire district as a firefighter.
“I knew that I just really had to work hard to get to know people,” she said.
She credits her alignment with school board candidates and their progressive values, her communication across multiple social media platforms and her willingness to go out and meet young voters as helping to bolster her campaign.
She expressed excitement about bringing some diversity to the fire district’s board of commissioners, which has traditionally been occupied by older men.
“When you have a department that is 45% women, it’s striking that you don’t have leadership that reflects that better,” she said.
But there is a silver lining in store for Towers.
In addition to filing during the special filing period in August, both Erickson and Towers also applied for a vacancy left by Larry Metz, a commissioner who moved outside of the district but whose name still appeared on the ballot.
At a meeting Thursday night, Mestemacher and his fellow commissioner, Mike Noblet, chose Towers out of four potential candidates to fill Metz’s vacancy.
Towers will be sworn in Nov. 9.