According to the King County Elections website 6 candidates have filed for the Special Election for King County Elections Director to be held on Feb. 3, 2009. The filing period ended today.
Sherril Huff, the current appointed Elections Director, held a press conference on Tues. to announce her candidacy for the seat. King County Executive Ron Sims, who appointed Huff to her position, also attended the press conference and gave his support to her candidacy. Huff has run King County Elections for the past two years without any major problems and obviously has the experience and qualifications to continue to do a good job.
It was reported that Ron Sims met with some of the other candidates having a Democratic background and urged them not to file so that the Democratic vote would not be split, giving the election to a conservative Republican. Some of the better known Democrats who considered the race but did not file as a result included, Jason Osgood, who ran unsuccessfully for Secretary of State this year, Lloyd Hara, a current Seattle Port Commissioner and Ellen Hansen who ran the Election Dept many years ago when Randy Revelle was the county executive.
Unfortunately the Republicans who wrote the initiative to make the county elections director an elected office set up the first election without a Primary, giving whoever gets the most votes on Feb 3rd the office. With votes split 6 ways, someone could win with 25% of the vote or less. The election will be an all mail in election.
Two conservative conservative Republicans are running. Both have no real experience in running elections. They are David Irons, a former Republican County Council member who lost a race for King County Executive and Republican State Senator Pam Roach from Auburn. Their strong Republican partisanship in the past make them unlikely to inspire any confidence that they could successfully run what is supposed to be a nonpartisan office and also avoid any hint of partisan bias.
What should be an election to appoint a qualified person to run the elections in King County unfortunately will probably turn into a conservative Republican battle for votes. It would be a mistake to elect anyone with a strong partisan bias to this office and expect that voters will have any confidence in how the office is run. Based on their past partisan activities both Irons and Roach should be avoided by the voters if they want this office to have any credibility.
Information on the candidates on the King County Elections website right now is very sparse:
Sherril Huff 10206 66TH AVE S SEATTLE, WA 98178
Julie Kempf PO BOX 30111 SEATTLE, WA 98113
Bill Anderson 4604 47TH ST SE AUBURN, WA 98092 firstname.lastname@example.org
Christopher Clifford 2721 TALBOT RD S RENTON, WA 98055 email@example.com
David Irons 300 QUEEN ANNE AVE N #620 SEATTLE, WA 98109 firstname.lastname@example.org (425) 443-6603
Pam Roach PO BOX 682 AUBURN, WA 98071 email@example.com
Added on Sunday : You can fill in some additional blanks in what is happening by going to Will’s post at horsesass.org http://www.horsesass.org/?p=10966. There is a discussion there about the issue of Huff’s residency as well as discussion about another candidate Julie Kempf, a former Superintendent at the Elections Dept who was fired.