Crawford, Kremen win county council seats, parks levy fails despite majority yes vote

Published on Wed, Nov 16, 2011 by Jeremy Schwartz

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Outgoing Whatcom County executive Pete Kremen appears to have won the Whatcom County Council race against incumbent Tony Larson, as has county council member Sam Crawford against opponent Christina Maginnis.

The most recent numbers from the Whatcom County Auditor’s Office show Kremen leads Larson by just more than 1 full percentage point; Kremen has accumulated 50.9 percent of the vote to Larson’s 49.1 percent. The race between Crawford and Maginnis is separated by about 0.76 percent and 467 votes; Crawford has 50.4 percent while Maginnis has 49.6 percent. The Whatcom County Auditor estimates 200 ballots remain to be counted, so neither Larson nor Maginnis will be able to pull ahead of their opponents after the next count, which was scheduled for November 16.

In other countywide elections, former Lynden mayor Jack Louws will be the next Whatcom County Executive after defeating state senator Doug Ericksen with 53.9 percent of the vote to Ericksen’s 46.1 Ericksen conceded the race to Louws last week.
County council member Barbara Brenner will continue to represent county council district encompassing Blaine and Birch Bay after defeating Blaine City Council member Alan Black 56.8 percent to 43.2 percent. Brenner has represented these two communities on the county council since 1992.

Whatcom County Sheriff Bill Elfo will serve another term after besting sheriff’s deputy Steve Harris with 74.5 percent of the vote to Harris’ 25.5 percent, as will county treasurer Steve Oliver, who defeated challenger Brian Smith. Chief deputy county auditor Debbie Adelstein will be the next county auditor after defeating J. Lynn Walker 61.1 percent to 38.9 percent.

In local elections, Blaine Planning Commission chair Ken Oplinger and Clark Cotner ran unopposed races to become Blaine City Council’s newest members. Oplinger will take over council member John Liebert’s seat in council ward 1, position 1, while Cotner will take over for Black in ward 3, position 5.

For a second year in a row, the Northwest Park and Recreation District #2 levy has failed. The yes votes made it to 56.7 percent of the vote, but levies such as this need 60 percent approval or more to pass. The same levy failed with 57.6 percent of the vote in 2010.

The levy would have raised about $350,000 for the district over the next six years and cost 10 cents per $1,000 of a property’s assessed value, or $20 per year on a $200,000 home.

In the two contested North Whatcom Fire and Rescue district fire commissioner races, incumbent Bill Salter defeated Kelly Gambini with 61.4 percent of the vote while incumbent Larry McPhail defeated Dean Berkeley with 73.4 percent of the vote. Commissioner Rich Bosman was re-elected in an uncontested race.

The county auditor will certify the election results on November 29. For the most up-to-date numbers, visit the auditor’s website at