By Lance Henderson
With 26,983 votes counted out of 116,410 registered voters, some candidates will walk cleanly into the local top-two primary, while others will end their campaigns immediately. The Whatcom County Auditor’s Office will continue to count ballots throughout the week, and results should be finalized by Sept. 2. All results are unofficial until then.
In the Port of Bellingham commissioner District 1 race, John Blethen has earned a considerable lead over incumbent and current Port Commission President Scott Walker. Blethen so far has earned 4,400 votes (51.49 percent) with Walker trailing with 3,065 votes (35.87 percent). Ham Hayes has earned only 1,080 votes (12.64 percent).
In the District 2 Port commissioner race, newcomer Mike McAuley and incumbent Doug Smith are running a tight race with only 77 votes separating them. McAuley has 3,091 votes (38.83 percent) and Smith has earned 3,014 votes (37.86 percent). Candidate Doug Karlberg is bringing up the rear with 1,856 votes (23.31 percent).
For the Whatcom County Council At-Large position, County Council veteran Laurie Caskey-Schreiber and Bill Knutzen are also running a pretty close race with a mere 258-vote separation. Caskey-Schreiber earned 11,893 votes (45.28 percent), while Knutzen received 11,635 votes (44.29 percent). Candidate Dave Pros will likely not go on with 2,740 votes (10.43 percent).
In the race for Barbara Ryan’s Ward 6 seat on the Bellingham City Council, Michael Lilliquist looks like he will walk into the general election with 1,036 votes (48.37 percent). However, who his opponent will be is still up in the air. Candidates Catherine Chambers and Christopher Morrison are only separated by 32 votes. Chambers earned 569 votes (26.56 percent) while Morrison pulled in 537 votes (25.07 percent).
The Bellingham Business Journal will continue to update election results as they come out of the Whatcom County Auditor’s Office.