As the 2013 election season winds down (yes, we are still waiting to see how the Port races turnout, but looking ahead), the groundwork is already being laid for the wild ride of 2014. Let’s take a look
Whatcom County will be ground zero, once again, for two races with state and national consequence. Freshman Rep. Suzan DelBene will be up for her first reelection election campaign since she bested Koster for the newly redrawn 1st Congressional district. Since being elected, she has carved out an impressive niche in the last year, using her technological expertise to push for oversight on the NSA and her position on the House Agricultural Committee to lobby for our farming community. As a first-time Representative in a swing-ish district, this race could attract national attention.
With her rather subtly progressive voting record, I doubt she will face any trouble on the left. The question is who will run against her on the right? Obviously, my first choice is State Sen. Doug Ericksen. I realize that a congressional race will cut into his dining with lobbyists, but I think he has a shot.
If he goes for it, it could be a competitive race. Alternately, the Republicans could recruit some King County moderate businessperson to run against her, but as Rob McKenna and Susan Hutchison proved, Washington State doesn’t really buy into that sort of thing.
The other race that will definitely draw some attention is the State Senate race in the 42nd. That’s right, Doug Ericksen could be at the center of both these races, making 2014 officially “The Year of the Doug”. Provided Sen. Ericksen decides to run for reelection, he will still be in the crosshairs. With the balance of the State Senate hanging by a thread, the 42nd legislative district (north Bellingham to the Canadian border) is now considered a swing district.
In 2012, Natalie McClendon and Matt Krogh made a noble attempt to unseat Rep. Vincent Buys and Rep. Jason Overstreet and despite the Republicans rather extreme record in the state legislature, neither one was able to come close to unseating the incumbents. But with the state-wide parties flowing money into our community, combined with a repeat of the effective ground game the Democrats ran this year, this could be a real close fight.
The only other race of note in 2014 on a local level is our County Prosecutor. David McEachran has served as County Prosecutor for the last four decades. Let that sink in for a moment. When he was first elected, Time Magazine had declared Richard Nixon their “Person of the Year”, a stamp cost $0.08 and ATARI had just invented Pong, the first modern computer game. In that time, he has rarely drawn an opponent much less a competitive race. Sources within the Prosecutor’s office indicate that he will run for reelection and has no plans for retiring in 2014.
There may be an initiative requiring mandatory background checks on all gun sales on the ballot and there is rumbling of perhaps more $15 minimum wage efforts throughout the state. As I get more information on these efforts or potential candidates for next year, I will let you know. You can always send your tips to me by clicking here.