Jail ballot measure finally gets voter backing, sheriff race is close


Note: Election results were up to date as of 8:10 p.m. November 7.  

Ballots cast in the November 7 general election show a wave of changes in Whatcom County, including a new county jail and likely three new faces on Blaine school board. Preliminary results also show Satpal Sidhu will retain his position as Whatcom County Executive and undersheriff Doug Chadwick slightly ahead for Whatcom County Sheriff. 

About 29 percent of the county’s 159,700 registered voters turned in their ballots by 8 p.m. Election Day. There were 46,160 ballots  counted on election night and the Whatcom County Auditor’s Office estimated another 18,000 ballots were left to be counted as of election night. The auditor’s office expects to receive more ballots that are still in the mail or from late arriving ballot boxes before the election is certified on November 28.

Proposition 4, the Whatcom County Public Health, Safety and Justice Sales and Use Tax, was passing by a wide margin. The ballot measure garnered 66.2 percent (29,164) of Whatcom County voters’ support, while 33.9 percent (14,925) were against it.

Proposition 4 will authorize a sales tax of two-tenths of one percent, or 20 cents per $100, to fund a new county jail. Funds will also go toward behavioral health, supportive housing, public safety and other criminal justice services. Support for the measure comes after voters twice rejected ballot measures to fund a new jail in 2015 and 2017.

Incumbent Satpal Sidhu was leading Dan Purdy for the Whatcom County Executive position. Sidhu had 55.7 percent (25,105) and Purdy had 44.1 percent (19,904) of the votes.

Doug Chadwick was ahead of Blaine police chief Donnell Tanksley for the Whatcom County Sheriff position, but by a small margin. Chadwick received 51 percent (22,767) of votes and Tanksley received 48.9 percent (21,845), putting Chadwick in the lead by 922 votes. 

Jon Scanlon was leading Hannah Ordos for the Whatcom County At-Large Position B seat. Scanlon was ahead with 55.3 percent (24,368), while Ordos had 44.6 percent (19,645).

Incumbent Ben Elenbaas will retain his Whatcom County Council District 5 position. Elenbaas received 60.6 percent (5,313) of votes, while his challenger, Jackie Dexter, had 39.2 (3,432).

Mark Stremler was narrowly ahead of incumbent Kathy Kershner for the Whatcom County Council District 4 seat. Stremler received 52.3 percent (5,269) of the vote, while Kershner received 47.5 percent (4,796), a lead of 473 votes.

Sonia Hurt was winning the Blaine City Council Ward 2 Position 3 seat by a landslide. Hurt gained 76.1 percent (827) of the vote, while Steven Tojek only received 23.9 percent (261).

The Blaine school board will see some serious changes in the coming year as all of the seats were up in the November election.

For the school board district 1 seat, Erika Creydt was significantly ahead of Kimberly Akre. Creydt received 63.8 percent (2,279) in support, while Akre received 35.7 percent (1,276).

Ben Lazarus was ahead of Dean Berkeley for the district 2 school board seat. Lazarus received 61.6 percent (2,231) of votes, and Berkeley received 38.2 percent (1,383).

Cliff Freeman will be the new district 3 school board member after gaining large support from Blaine area voters. Freeman received 63.8 percent (2,265) in support, while Jeff Carrington received 35.4 percent (1,259).

Ryan Ford led Derrick Bovenkamp for the school board district 4 seat. Ford received 58.9 percent (2,087), while Bovenkamp received 40.7 percent (1,440).

Several candidates ran unopposed in the November election.

Don Leu was unchallenged for his district 5 Blaine school board seat, and Richard May and Mary Lou Steward both retained their Blaine City Council seats.

Port of Bellingham commissioner Bobby Briscoe, running unopposed, received 30,172 votes against 451 write-in votes, second highest in the election after county assessor Rebecca Xczar, who also ran unopposed, with 681 write-ins.

For Blaine-Birch Bay Park and Recreation District 2, incumbents Jesse Creydt and David Wilbrecht ran unopposed for their commissioner positions and first-time candidate John Roy ran unopposed.

North Whatcom Fire and Rescue commissioners Bruce Ansell, Matthew Rigberg and Kimberly McMurray ran unopposed. Birch Bay Water and Sewer District commissioner Don Montfort also ran without a challenger.

Whatcom County chief deputy auditor Stacy Henthorn ran unopposed for auditor and Whatcom County treasurer Steven Oliver ran unopposed to retain his position.

The next ballot count was scheduled for 5 p.m. November 8. To view election results as they’re updated, visit bit.ly/3FQFtbx.


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