LYNDEN, Washington -- “Oh shoot!” if one need edit.
There was cursing from Republicans all over Whatcom County as the results of the county council elections slowly rolled in. The right-of-center bloc of four councilmembers had enjoyed a one-vote majority going into the elections, which put three of their seats at risk. All three lost, leaving Sam Crawford as the single conservative voice in county government.
Whatcom County offices are usually non-partisan in name only. Candidates here are endorsed and campaigned for by parties. Local Democrats dearly wanted these county officials to go down, and go down they did.
The Democrats’ campaign pressed two points against their opponents: 1) they are Tea Party-connected extremists; and 2) they want to allow the construction of the deep water Gateway Pacific Terminal for exports to Asia, which would mean more coal-bearing trains running through the most granola-crunching parts of Bellingham.
Tea Party alarums may have softened up some Bellingham voters. My friend Dillon Honcoop, a hard news and analysis-focused host for local KGMI radio, predicts that Republicans “will be running scared next year.”