Posted by: sweeneyblog | November 5, 2013

2013 Election Night Liveblog

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Here we are at the Democrats Victory Party and it is already packed with volunteers. Big shout out to my tech team Devlin Sweeney, Jonathan Holbert and Ramona Abbott for getting the internet flowing.

Maggie Hansen and Hue Beattie await the results.

Maggie Hansen and Hue Beattie await the results.

Richard May is very concerned about the unlocked ballot box found out in Everson on Saturday. “Here’s the scenario, some Republican PCO drops of his ballot late that night. They see it is unlocked, they take the ballots home, toss out the Democratic ones, put the rest back. If someone loses by less than 90 votes this election, they have a court case.”

I’m uploading pictures. Local City Councilman Michael Lilliquist stopped by to ask whether there will be one or two counts tonight from the Auditor. There is much skepticism expressed (Frances Badgett most recently) about whether they will actually have one result ready by 8:15pm. I have faith that Debbie Adelstein will be working very hard tonight.

Riley stands before the audience gesturing towards Ken Mann as he announces the trivia game of “was this quote said by Whatcom Republicans or Tea Party”

At this point the crowd has grown to the point where the hall has started to overflow into the bar and eating area, I am guessing about 120+ people.


Mike McAuley in the house!

Riley is back in the chair. All the candidates have arrived along with a man with a very large video camera. No word whether it is some of those scary hollywood liberals or a local news effort. Speaking of news, there is a reporter from Crosscut here, along with the Western Front. All the candidates have arrived with their entourage.

The results from the Virginia Governor race have sparked hearty cheers but there is some amazement that Cuccinelli did so well. “51% of women voted for him? How can 51% vote for someone from the Dark Ages?!”

Bob Burr stopped by to say that he is glad he will only be serving a two year term.  “If I can’t make a difference in two years, I am not going to make a difference at all.” Burr rumbled.

The house is now packed, pushing 175 people shouting to hear each other. Having exhausted all prediction possibilities, we are now making predictions about when the results will be live. “Every year, I’m like its going to be 8:45 but then on election night everyone remembers it as 8:20. The question is, is there time to get another beer?” says Democratic Chair Mike Estes.

Elections are sweaty business

Elections are sweaty business

We are rapidly approaching maximum occupancy. All the democratically endorsed candidates are here (and Bob Burr) along with a quorum of the City Council, former Mayor Dan Pike and Sen. Kevin Ranker. Also, local businessman and former candidate Richard May has just placed several delicious beverage in front of me. He is a gracious man.

Early results from the rest of the state show that I-522 is not doing well but they have yet to count the heavy metropolitan areas.  Cathy Allen is hovering over my shoulder asking about the Seattle Mayor’s race (Murray leading) and the 26th (not looking good but not conclusive)

Local results are in, clean sweep for the County Council races. The Democratically endorsed candidates won solidly. There are tears, happy happy tears and many hugs. Mike McAuley did much better than I expected, solidly winning tonight but Renata still remains in the danger zone. I was thinking Renata would have a much stronger result but she is leading so I won’t complain.

I heard from a passerby that now we have 4.5 votes on the County Council. I assume this is a reference to Pete Kremen but it might be Barbara Brenner. It is now standing room only.

Pinky Vargas is all smiles. “We won!” Mayor Kelli Linville has arrived in a tight circle of followers.

The County Auditor website is reporting that there are 5,000 ballots left to count. The number is actually much higher (more like 10-15k), that is just the number they have prepared but not run. There are still ballots coming in from todays collections.

I’d just like to mention that Luanne Van Werven predicted on KGMI that all the conservative candidates would win. I think the appropriate response here is this.

Writer Stephen Michaels took this photo

Writer Stephen Michaels took this photo

Barry Buchanan gave a victory speech, but Richard May was handing me booze so I missed it. The I-522 numbers aren’t budging which is disappointing but understandable. Bob Burr is now talking about the wonders of marriage to my wife and sister-in-law.

The crowd is beginning to thin. David Stalheim offers up that the late trending ballots will probably be conservative. “Looking at who voted early, our people returned their ballots right away. The late ballots will be more conservative, but not enough to change any of the County Council races.”

Crowd is definitely dwindling but the energy is still high. The campaign managers have headed out to other drinking establishments while a smattering of candidates and activists remain.

Bryna takes the wheel

Bryna takes the wheel

Riley has now disappeared to schmooze with the candidates. Schmooze? Yeah, schmooze. Or grab another drink. That’s fine. He deserves it. I haven’t seen him this active since he lost his phone the last time and had to be at work in 2 minutes. The last time.

I’m back now. Talk is already on to 2014 and how to end Doug Ericksen’s lobbyist meal train. On a completely unrelated note, Matt Krogh is here, sporting a handsome beard and a big smile.

Barry is incredulous that how the results turned out. “I thought I was going to win, I just didn’t have it pegged by this much.”

I just made a brief, mildly intoxicated, appearance on KGMI with Dillon Honcoop after shouting all evening. This is my impression of what I sounded like. Yes, it is a visual to represent an auditory experience but it is late and I am winding down.

Time to pack it in, I will post more pictures on my facebook page tomorrow and start combing through the precinct data for my usual campaign analysis as soon as it is available. Thank you for joining me in this liveblog tonight. I hope you had as much fun as I did.



  1. What time do you start posting? What are the folks at the VFW talking about?

    • We are just getting started

  2. Dude! I’m here too. Keep it coming. Don’t get distracted by your cute wife or the bar.

  3. One count only tonight, the auditor told me today.

  4. First results are in as of 8:27pm. Looking good for Buchanon, Mann, Weimer and Browne!

  5. How do they come up with that 5,000 left to count? Does that include everything from the boxes up till 8:00 and an estimate of mail today, or what?

    • ~5000 left to count of the 47K reported. More ballots should be arriving….

  6. Seems to me that SSA, Cloud Peak Energy, and Global Coal could’ve saved themselves $112,000 by staying OUT of our local elections. Heck, they could’ve even used that money to…I don’t know…create a couple of those jobs they talk so much about.

    Its always amazing to me that corporations will think nothing of throwing major bucks at an election but then fight tooth-and-nail to avoid regulations which cost less to comply with than to fight. If “it’s the principle”, I think they need to reevaluate their principles.

    All in all, I will take full, unjustified, credit for this election victory due to the $27 I threw at Riley over the past year, and the $20 I gave to each Council candidate. You’re welcome!

    • Oops, left out the $32,000 from Quintata Minerals from Houston, TX.

      I heard you can do a lot of good in the Houston area by donating $32k to charity…

    • Great POST! A truth-sayer for sure. Nothing here to disagree with, at all.

  7. Thank you SO much, Riley!

  8. I’m worried about Renata. Her numbers are very close. Keep your fingers crossed that we get good and final news tomorrow. We fought a hard campaign and it was worth it, caused we SWEEPED EM”. Volunteers are awesome!!!!!

    • Judy, yes we did fight a hard campaign and I am confident that even by one or two votes Renata will be the next Port of Bellingham Commissioner, District 1! What’s “worrisome” is seeing ho clearly divided Whatcom County is… ~sigh~

  9. Yay, Ben Ellenbaas lost! His ads portraying himself as an environmentalist were deceiving and a distraction. Didn’t all the conservative(tea party) candidates take money from the state GOP, which took money from the pro-coal interests? The problem with Ben and his ilk is that they assume all voters are as stupid as their fellow tea party voters are and will fall for their lies.

    • Yes, the coal companies did funnel some money into the candidate’s pockets through the local parties.

  10. […] those who thought that the progressive takeover of the County Council was the last we would hear about the Gateway Pacific Terminal, prepare to be shocked. Okay, no […]

  11. […] Bill Knutzen, a cell phone salesmen with ties to the farming community in Whatcom, was elected during the Tea Party surge in 2009, beating long-time incumbent Laurie Caskey-Schreiber. However in 2013, the flying fickle finger of fate returned and booted Knutzen for local businessman Rud Browne during the anti-coal terminal wave that swept the county. […]

  12. […] new leadership has taken the reins leading to big wins in the last two election cycles and it has been time and past time to bury the hatchet. Larsen received the full endorsement of the […]

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