By Stefanie Donahue
Yet another candidate is vying to represent Whatcom County residents in the state senate.
On March 28, Tim Ballew II, current at-large member of the Whatcom County Council and former chairman of the Lummi Nation, announced that he plans to run for state senate to represent the 42nd district.
Ballew (D) will join incumbent state senator Doug Ericksen (R-Ferndale) and Bellingham city councilmember Pinky Vargas (D) in the race. Michael McAuley withdrew last December after filing to run for the position in 2017.
“I have had the privilege to serve the people of Whatcom County throughout my career,” Ballew said in a press release last week. “When former [Port of Bellingham] commissioner Mike McAuley asked me to consider the seat in the 42nd, I was humbled. To me, it is another opportunity to create policy decisions that are best for everyone who calls Whatcom home.”
McAuley said he withdrew from the race because, “as state senator, the things I wanted to work on most, I couldn’t do,” adding, “My focus is much more local and much more specific.”
Since January, Ballew has served the Whatcom County Council as an at-large member. He was selected from 29 candidates for the position, which was vacated in November after Todd Donovan resigned to serve in district 2, in a redistricting approved by voters in 2016.
At the time he was appointed, Ballew told the council that he didn’t intend to run for the
“As a councilmember and mother of three, I feel good about having Tim in our corner in Olympia,” said Blaine city councilmember Alicia Rule, who also applied for the county council seat in January. “It would mean we have someone fighting tirelessly to preserve and enhance the beauty and livability of our community while ensuring we’ve got a strong voice on our behalf for the infrastructure projects Blaine and the other small cities in Whatcom County.”
Ballew has served on the policy board of the Whatcom Council of Governments, national rulemaking board for the Department of Transportation, Lummi Nation Education Board and the tribal technical advisory committee to the Washington Department of Revenue.
Follow the money
All members of the House and half of the Senate are up for re-election this midterm election.
According to the Public Disclosure Commission, Ericksen filed for candidacy in September 2015 and has since raised $42,195 and spent $11,416; Vargas filed in January 2018 and has raised $20,357 and spent $3,158; Ballew filed in March 2018 and has raised $3,995 and spent $253.
McAuley filed for candidacy in July 2017 and raised $6,488 and spent $3,446. He said, “Over time, I’ll be paying every dollar back.” He’s currently in the process of returning money to donors and said he’ll be paying out of pocket to return money that was used on the campaign.
According to the Public Disclosure Commission, $27,545 of Ericksen’s contributions came from businesses, $10,200 from Political Action Committees (PACs), $3,200 from individual donors and $1,250 is uncategorized. Vargas received $17,525 from individual donors; $2,789 is uncategorized. Days into his campaign, Ballew received $3,995, all from individual donors.
Members of the Washington State Senate serve a four-year term and are not subject to term limits. Ericksen has held the position since 2011; in November 2010, he ran against Democrat Pat Jerns and in 2014, against Democrat Seth Fleetwood.
The midterm election is Tuesday, November 6. The filing deadline is Friday, May 18.