UPDATE: Ousted Vancouver councilor cannot seek write-in votes

By Andrea Damewood, Columbian staff writer

Published:

Updated: August 19, 2011, 5:05 PM

 

He Won't Back Down

No one sums up Pat Campbell's decision to continue campaigning better than Tom Petty, according to the latest All Politics is Local blog.

Ousted Vancouver City Councilor Pat Campbell was back in the general election race for about eight hours Friday, announcing a write-in campaign — until he learned of Washington’s “sore loser law,” which prevents primary losers from mounting such campaigns.

Campbell sent a fiery email at 7:30 a.m. Friday, coming out swinging against the primary’s top two finishers, Bill Turlay and Anne McEnerny-Ogle.

“Do your part, pass this message on, and write in the two words, ‘Pat Campbell’ this November,” he wrote.

But by 4 p.m., Clark County elections officials filled him on the state law that invalidates any write-in votes for a primary loser.

“This question comes up quite often if a candidate cannot accept a loss in the primary,” said Clark County Elections Supervisor Tim Likness. “Anybody who loses in the primary: They’re done.”

Anyone who writes in Campbell’s name will have their vote discarded — it won’t be counted or reported.

Any registered voter who lives within city limits and was not on the primary ballot may stage a write-in effort and have those votes count, Likness said.

Not every state has a sore loser law: Last year, Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski made a successful bid last year to keep her seat through a write-in campaign.

“They don’t have that law. We do,” Likness said.

Campbell finished third in Tuesday’s narrowly-split three-way race. He trailed Turlay, the leader, by just 535 votes and second-place finisher McEnerny-Ogle by 313.

Campbell, who did not accept endorsements or campaign contributions nor actively campaign, said Friday he was prepared to spend more time campaigning. He said he still would not seek money for the Nov. 8 run.

He blasted Turlay and McEnerny-Ogle in his announcement.

He said that McEnerny-Ogle has made “vague impossible promises given our city’s short term financial outlook” and has a reputation for “an inability to work with others.”

Turlay, Campbell continued, is an “avowed Tea Party member” who is “against a safe bridge” and is “actively part of a campaign to kill the C-Tran operations vote this fall.”

“Two well-financed special interest campaigns that barely succeed against an incumbent with proven service and no special interest funding won’t succeed this fall,” Campbell wrote. ”The voters this fall wont be the ideologues.”

Turlay has raised $6,035, largely backed by $1,600 from Columbia River Crossing critics David and Donna Madore, and $1,000 from Elton and Susan Parker of MacLean, Va., along with numerous smaller donors. McEnerny-Ogle has raised $5,517, including the maximum $800 donation from the Vancouver Firefighter’s Union and other smaller donations.

Turlay said Friday that Campbell’s email came as a surprise.

He said he’s attended a few We the People Tea Party meetings, and has spoken at a Tea Party event at Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler’s office. He agreed that he’s against the CRC’s plans for interchange improvements and light rail.

But he said he’d like to see a safe bridge and hasn’t been campaigning against C-Tran’s 0.2 percent sales tax increase to fund bus operations.

“I don’t know where he’s getting this other than rumors or something like that,” Turlay said.

McEnerny-Ogle said Campbell arrived at a breakfast meeting Friday morning extremely irate and leveled some of the charges he made in his announcements again.

She said she doesn’t think her campaign platforms have been “vague at all.”

“I can give some very specific ways we can resolve some (city) problems and look at different funding mechanisms that have been overlooked,”

As for an “inability to work with others,” she said she’s had a long and successful relationship leading volunteers.

“I have worked with more groups than Mr. Campbell probably has in his position,” McEnerny-Ogle said. “I work with volunteers who can get up and leave if they want to. I have been very successful with that piece.”

Andrea Damewood: 360-735-4542 or http://facebook.com/reporterdamewood or http://twitter.com/col_cityhall or andrea.damewood@columbian.com.