Posted by: sweeneyblog | August 16, 2011

Liveblogging Primary Night

Weds Morning Update: Good morning everyone. Hope enjoyed this liveblog. As it was a by-the-minute sort of thing, I’m sure there are a few grammar error/syntax problems through out the piece. I’m going to try and clean those up a bit, as well as the formatting just so it looks cleaner for future readers. I hope to do a similar sort of liveblog on election night in November. Remember, if you like this sort of local election coverage, there are ways you can help us do what we do. Thank you to all the people who hosted us on this crawl (Harris, Stalheim and Linville) and to everyone who put up with me horribly misquoting them.

Steve Harris awaits the news

6:45pm We started our journey at Steve Harris for Sheriff’s event at the Fireside Martini Bar. The owner and his wife greeted us when we came in. Steve is his usual low-key self. “I’m cautiously optimistic.”

Mrs. Political Junkie enjoys a cocktail

His group is casual, discussing humorous campaign stories and random questions people get. “I had an art professor call me email me and ask me about Gay Marriage. Really. I’m running for Sheriff. I told him, I don’t think the government should not be in the business of telling people who they can and can’t marry.” EDIT: Steve has a clarification on this, see below. The discussion turns to the jail. “We don’t need a new Sheriff’s office with all the bells of whistles. Let’s be reasonable about this.”

Shane and Stephanie at the Stalheim Primary Party

7:20pm We are now at the David Stalheim event. Shane Roth is unfolding a story of observing Doug Ericksen’s PDC records.

Two fine public servents

It is noisy and packed in the Copper Hog, with a good number of friendly faces. High spirits indeed. However, we have trouble getting a good internet connection so off we go to the next event.

8:02pm Thank you to Michele Kammerer for buying us beers when we arrived at the Kelli Linville event. We briefly buzzed the Stalheim event but it was a bit noisy because it was PACKED. But I did manage to snag a shot of the candidate talking with our County Treasurer Steve Oliver.

Some notable people at the Kelli Linville event; John Servais, owner of NWCitizen, Jack Weiss and Harriet Spanel. I talked to Kelli Linville’s campaign manager, the capable Vanessa Blackburn. She is her usual energetic self, “At this point, there is literally nothing else I can do, so you can’t really worry.”

8:20pm– Results are post (check them out here). A cheer goes up as early numbers arrive. “39.6% for Kelli, 39.1% for Pike!”

It looks like Louws is edging out Stalheim but with so few ballots counted, I’m skeptical of this being the final result.

8: 25pm Getting a response from Shane Roth of Latte Republic said, and I quote, “Holy SHIT!” He then was quite interested in whether the remaining votes to be counted where city or county votes.

Kelli arrives to cheers a moment or two after Pete Kremen shows (in tie and jacket of course). “Thank you guys!” She says, “I’m just so overwhelmed.” She continues her hug circuit while she prepares for a speech.

In the meantime, here is my graphic for the Kelli race

Here’s some more pics to tide you over.

The Political Junkie at work

There is much gnashing of teeth about the Louws/Ericksen result, but not necessarily giving up hope. Lots of prognosticating about those extra 10,000 votes.

A common theme is surprise at Tom Anderson strong showing. Most pundits pegged him at 5% with alot of “He’s a nice guy but . . .” votes but pulling 8.5% is impressive, however this pundit wonders if progressives will blame him for Stalheim falling short.

9:00pm Bob Burr, my favorite former senatorial candidate speaks, “I voted for Tom Anderson and am proud of it, though I fear a little too wonkish for public office.”

Steve Schuck stops by to share his speculation on the County Council office. Does this portend a poor showing for our county council candidates? Not necessarily, but it does give cause for concern.

Riley leaves his computer for an unguarded moment

Before the results are shown

Before the results are shown

Richard May would like to call the whole darn mayoral election for Kelli Linville. He is very insistent on that being posted. Michele Kammerer has purchased us another ale. Dangerously pleasant woman, that one. Jeremy Mohn, a rising star in the Democratic party, with my blushing wife. Louise Bjornson stopped by to inquire about the exact difference between Kelli and Dan. Hearing the answer (200 votes), she gave a big smile. “Good!” She then wandered off to other conversations.

Louise and Doug Starcher’s leg

Jeremy and Bryna

I had a very pleasant conversation with the chair of the Bellingham Chamber of Commerce chair Christina Palmerton. She was here supporting Kelli as a private citizen. “Kelli really supports good ideas no matter the political party. We need to move beyond political parties, no one has a monopoly on good ideas.” Bryna would like everyone to know that she paid my beer debt to Stephanie Kountouros and got her a drink.

9:30pm Kelli Linville takes the stage. “It’s hard to run against the incumbent mayor, but tonight it seems all worth it. I am so excited. I don’t take anything for granted, as you know, sometimes I don’t win my elections.” Chuckles ensue. “But I am going to work so hard for the general, and I thank you for everyone who has confidence in me.” Much cheers. “The police guild, the city employees and the supervisors and the professional staff have endorsed me . . .”

“And the Teamsters!” shouts someone from the crowd.

“If you have lose the confidence of the people you are managing, then you have a problem. I will let every city employee know that while I respect them and adore them, I expect quality results.”

“I’ve worked on water quality a long time, I am ready to do it for the city. You have to have a good relationship with the people you are working together.”

Kelli Linville speaks to the crowd

“Finally, let’s talk about the pier at Cherry Point.” Kelli talks on a somber tone. “What I say to the mayor is if you do want to stop the pier . . . you don’t look to the mayors of Seattle and Spokane, they don’t have the authority. Who does? The governor, the county council, the county executive and most importantly, the small cities. Let’s look north. We need to talk to Ferndale and Blaine.”
“When did respecting the process become a bad thing. If you don’t like government, don’t run for public office!”

Finally, she turned to the theme of results. “The problems that we faced four years ago are still there today. We need results. The water quality for years ago is still deteriorating, that was a promise four years ago and he hasn’t follow through.”

Just before 10pm, Dave Willingham cornered me and asked me about the comparison between Pete Kremen and the star of Battlestar Galactica, Admiral Adama. They are very similar visually and vocally. So say we all.

I think I’m going to call it a night. Thank you everyone for tuning in. I hope to have more thrilling posts in the futures.



  1. where to next Riley?

  2. Stalheim’s next at the Copper Hog.

  3. What you can’t txt & live blog?

  4. Riley O Boy!!!! Great reporting, Can Stahleim catch Louws?

  5. Riley,

    Just a minor point…It was actually an email (I think my lovely wife said phone call) asking me about my thoughts on gay marriage. To be clear, we were not making light of the question, but rather, how “non-partisan” elections require voters to use creative ways in rooting out the candidates personal views on issues important to them.

    I take a rather Libertarian point of view on government intrusion into our personal lives, especially things as fundemental as relationship and health care decisions.

    • Thank you for catching this. That’s what I get for listening, writing and drinking all at the same time. I’ve put a note up there so people can get more info from this comment.

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