Posted by: sweeneyblog | April 30, 2014

Seth Fleetwood to Challenge Sen. Doug Ericksen

Seth Fleetwood

Seth Fleetwood

Former county and city councilman and local attorney Seth Fleetwood will run against Sen. Doug Ericksen this year, making this race one of the most competitive and closely watched races in the state. Ericksen, who recently was recognized for his record-breaking amount of meals with lobbyists, is a must-hold seat for the state Republicans who control the state Senate by two votes.

Seth Fleetwood got his start in public service advocating for clean drinking water from Lake Whatcom and affordable housing. He unseated proto-Tea Party County Council member Marlene Dawson in 2001. He served eight years, drawing praise from both sides of the aisle for his measured approach.

In 2009, he was elected to the Bellingham City Council where he served for four years in the At-Large position. While there, he frustrated liberals with his votes against the Red Light Cameras and frustrated conservatives with his support of the plastic bag ban. In 2013, he decided to take a brief break from public service to focus on his legal work.

Now, Fleetwood is stepping into the public spotlight once again and challenging Ericksen for state Senate. The last time Ericksen ran for election, he was attempting to jump from Senate to the county executive and lost to fellow conservative Jack Louws. Now Ericksen is seeking reelection to retain his Senate seat after another challenging session in Olympia and with a strong candidate coming out of the wings, he is staring down the barrell of a difficult path to November.




  1. Great news. Great great great great great news. Did I mention this is great?

    • You need to be concerned about that stutter.

  2. “proto-Tea Party”? There was no TEA party until 2009. I know, you are just into coining new words.

    • Not true. The Tea Party was started by CSE (Citizens for Sound Economics) in 2002. CSE was started by the Koch Brothers in 1984.

      • Now that (the huff and Puff Post) is a “real” source Walter.

        Actually it (the TEA Party movement) started in 2009 with a rant by my good friend Rick Santelli on CNBC. I saw it live that morning. You are confusing a particular entity the U. S. Tea Party with the grassroots movement which started in 2009. There are tens of thousands of TEA party organizations around the county. In fact I counted eight in Whatcom County when i checked a while back.

        Obviously a big government elitist like you wouldn’t want the peons to have a say in what type of government they want. My guess is that you are a hypocrite and camped out in Maritime Heritage Park with the Occupy Bellingham crowd.

      • CORRECTION: It is Citizens for a Sound Economy NOT Citizens For Sound Economics.

      • Just nuked another string of comments when things got too heated. Let’s return to the subject at hand. How will Seth’s run change the dynamics of the 42nd races this year?

      • None whatsoever as he will be defeated unless Tom Steyer gives him $1,000, 000 like he did in the last election cycle.

  3. Looks like “meals with lobbyists” won’t be an issue with Seth-not much meat on those bones. With Doug you you get more pounds for your buck.

    Question: Does it make me a lobbyist if I, as a voter, take Doug to lunch because I want him to push through a constitutional amendment for a super majority requirement for new taxes

    • Only if you are being paid to do so by a larger organization.

      • Paid to do what-have lunch? Maybe it is just a social thing.

        Define larger organization.

        Does my dermatologist, his two partners and staff qualify as a “larger organization”?

        So what you are saying is that as a individual voter I am not allowed to lobby over lunch for legislation that I am interested in.

        Sounds UN-American to me. Of course since Obama has been in office America is no longer America because of “fundamental change”-Obamacare, Obama Phones, universal spying on citizens, and the abolition of MOST First Amendment rights. Comrade Obama has done it, Vlad should be proud.

      • Honestly the point of Per Diem is that you are given money so that you don’t have to incur the cost yourself or to avoid conflict of interests from people buying things for you. Should Doug be able to have lunch with you? Absolutely, but if he is taking Per Diem than he should pay for the meal because you as a tax payer are already paying for the meal, if you pay for the meal twice (once as a tax payer and once as a person buying him the meal) and he claims per Diem you have effectively given him however much the dinner costed as a donation.

        So while it may seem strange and against social custom, you should remember that as a tax payer your already buying him lunch and he should pick up his own tab.

      • Anagor,

        $120/day doesn’t go that far unless you eat fast foods. Do want Doug to get clogged arteries and diabetes? Need needs to only eat grass fed beef, free range chicken and wild salmon to stay healthy. No Big Macs, curly fries and Krispy Kreme donuts.

      • I would gladly go on $120/day. That gives you more than enough resources for food.

      • Now Riley may key into the “who” because he doesn’t like the idea of corporations having the same or greater influence than people, but there heart of the issue is double dipping, but if you want to make this about Obama by all means (has Obama become the new “every conversation on the internet will devolve into comparing your opponent to Nazis?”)

  4. Yay Seth. A true public servant is stepping up again to help get things moving in Olympia.

    • Yeah, let’s send a “bagman” (plastic) to Olympia.

  5. Anagor,

    Maybe Doug uses the per diem for others meals like breakfast, dinner and late night pizza.

    • Just to put things in perspective I travel on state business sometimes and when I travel to Olympia for example the state provides me with $61 for meals, so sen Erickson is getting roughly double what other public employees getting?, but based on what your saying that doesn’t cover it, are you saying public employees should have double? triple what they do now?

      I personally found that the Per Diem rate more than covered my expenses when I traveled.

      • I don’t know what your purpose of travel is but Doug by law is allowed $120/day. I am OK with reducing it to ZERO. Government employees have become parasites of the host-the taxpayer. Take a bag lunch.

      • So Doug taking $120/day and getting free meals = good guy, State workers taking $61/day = parasites? Shouldn’t we all strive to save tax payers money?

  6. Yes, but “state workers” are not elective representatives..

    • Out of curiosity what virtue about not being elected (instead by hired by the people you elected) makes state worker’s unworthy of the Per Diem that you feel is inadequate for Mr. Erickson?

  7. 1. putz. Literally, vulgar slang for penis, not to be used lightly.


    I am going to report you to Riley.

    • Wah!

      • Wah to you!

  8. Great puff piece put out by the blogging arm of the Whatcom Democrats and their darling Vice Chair Mr. Riley Sweeney. Just thought I would point out some misconceptions in the comment section here that keep coming around every time you mention Senator Ericksen and a legislator’s per diem.

    Legislators do not get a $120, $150 or whatever other per diem you decide to mis-report on any given day, they receive $90/day which is used to cover meals, housing and other expenses related with having to move to Olympia for a legislative session. Source:

    State Employees do not get $61/day either, it is actually much, much higher than that and depends on where said employee is doing the work. In King County for example, state employees receive a per diem of $223 plus $0.56/mile driven. Source:

    Finally, I do not find it bad at all that Sen. Ericksen happens to meet with constituent groups and listen to their concerns, in some cases getting his lunch or dinner paid for by the group. In fact, I think it is his job to meet with and listen to our ideas, needs and concerns. The fact that you are making such a huge issue out of $1400 in lunches is pretty pathetic. I mean, that is less than any one person is allowed to donate to his campaign! It’s just laughable that this is an issue you guys want to discuss as opposed to something that is actually important, like maybe fully funding education?

    • First off, I’m always straightforward about who I am, and my entanglements with the local party. That’s why I sign my name to everything I do and disclose my relationships. In that spirit, let me introduce you to Nick Evans, political director for the Whatcom Republicans. You might remember him for getting some basic facts about the Affordable Care Act completely wrong . . . despite the fact that he is an insurance agent.

      But on to his comments – yes the per diem rate is $90 per day for legislators but I think the real issue is the double dipping, i.e. Ericksen getting compensated for meals that are also paid for by lobbyists. Ericksen has said he has no problem with this but I find it deeply troubling. Lastly, it was not $1,400 in lunches, Ericksen cleared more than $2,000 in a three month period. That’s a significant amount of food.

      • actually if I can make a correction, it was $90 in 2013 it’s now $120

        Also Nick is comparing Apples or Oranges when he uses the $223 per day because he is including lodging per diem, while we were just talking about meals, finally I would like to point out that you picked the highest rate in the county to use as your example, while I picked the capital for my example which is what I was comparing it to.

        Finally my issue was not with the dollar amount it was a matter of comparison of attitude that you seems to have one set of standards for what you see as acceptable for your representatives and another standard for everyone else, and what I find to be even creepier is that you hold your senator to a lower standard.

      • Honestly, placing focus $2k of food is nothing compared to the challenges facing our state; it’s really nothing more than a distraction. Sen. Ericksen has been a leader in education. He worked to make sure there was not a tuition increase for state colleges for the first time since the 1980’s Not to mention his work that passed a budget that did not raise taxes and had bi-partisan support ; Ericksen has stepped up to these challenges and given results that should be the real focus here.

  9. Tom (stop this pipeline because it’s not one of the ones I own) Steyer will most definately give Seth a gazillion dollars and he will still lose in a landslide.

  10. Go Seth! We have enough of the do-nothing Reps in Whatcom County:Buys, Overstreet and Ericksen!. Every time I drive over the rusty northbound I-5 bridge over the Nooksack, I wonder how long it will last. Repubs love to cry about deficits (Bush and his wars AND TAX CUTS bankrupted us) but this infrastructure deficit is one of the worst things, next to climate change, that we are leaving our kids and grandkids..

    • Go ahead and send a big check to Olympia.

    • Interesting about the bridge. A little googling reveals the following:

      List of WA state structurally deficient bridges:

      Two in Whatcom County are listed: both on the Mt. Baker Highway.

      Interstate bridges seem absent from the list, but the column titled “state route” has 5 and 90 as conspicuous entries, with the Samish River bridge in Skagit County making the list. Other googling shows that the states’ DOTs maintain the majority of bridges, except for those on Federal land or Reservations.

      The “rusty” bridge at the Nooksack failed to make the list. I didn’t dig deeply enough to figure out the inspection frequency and latest report for the northbound span on the ‘sack.

      I do know that the Skagit bridge was brought down as a result of collision on a critical member by an oversize load. The load was permitted by DOT, with language indicating that not all spans are guaranteed to have adequate clearance over all portions of all lanes. Might I direct your bridge ire towards the permitting language and process?

  11. […] big news of the week is still Seth Fleetwood jumping into the 42nd race to challenge Doug Ericksen. Ericksen, for his part, responded to the news with boilerplate […]

  12. […] a Democrat in this race, and Nick Kunkel has already declared as the Libertarian. In other words, Seth Fleetwood and Doug Ericksen may just be the least interesting thing going on this cycle in the […]

  13. Seth Fleetwood Senate Candidate in the 42nd District. A list of his voting registration addresses since December 2013.

    • Fact: According to Whatcom County Auditor Records at the time, he moved his Voting Registration Address from Palm St in South Bellingham to 17th Street located in the 40th District on Dec. 4th 2013

    • Fact: According to Whatcom County Auditor Records at the time, he moved his voting Registration Address from 17th St in South Bellingham to 6999 Helweg Lane in the Blaine area in the 42nd District on April 29, 2014– The day he announced his run for the Senate in the 42nd Legislative District. There is no evidence that he ever lived there.

    • Fact: According to Whatcom County Auditor Records at the time, he moved his Registration Address from 6999 Helweg Lane in the Blaine area to a home for sale for 1.5 million dollars at 1504 Irving Lane in the Fort Bellingham area of Whatcom County. He did this Registration Address Change on May 15th 2014 the day he filed for office; both the Blaine and North Bellingham addresses are in the 42nd Legislative District. There has been no evidence he has moved there.

    • Fact: A Diane Lookman is also registered to vote at the 1504 Irving Lane Address and one Michael Lookman is the owner of record at the home according to the Whatcom County Assessor Records but is not registered to vote there.

    Is Seth Fleetwood just confused about where he wants to register to vote (generally people move to a place AND THEN change their registration)? Did he ever live at the Blaine Address?

    Does anyone care that his registration process in the 42nd looks contrived and only politically motivated?

  14. […] what about his opponent, former County and City Councilman Seth Fleetwood? Fleetwood has raised a respectable $32,000 for his campaign so far. His top contributors include […]

  15. […] The scenario would play out like this – if Inslee overcomes the Republican-controlled senate (with some help from Whatcom), if he passes some cutting edge legislation combating climate change, and if he builds a solid […]

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