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Oak Harbor's Fortunes don’t garner Republican endorsement

Shane and Carol Ann Fortune - Jessie Stensland/Whidbey News-Times
Shane and Carol Ann Fortune
— image credit: Jessie Stensland/Whidbey News-Times

A husband and wife team running for separate Island County offices failed to win endorsements from their own party.

The Island County Republican Party Central Committee released a list of endorsements for county, state and federal positions following a membership meeting last week. The big surprise was that the group made no endorsements for county treasurer or county clerk, even though there are Republicans vying for the positions.

Oak Harbor resident Shane Fortune is running for treasurer as a Republican against Ana Maria Nunez, a Democrat and the current chief deputy treasurer. Shane’s wife, Carol Ann Fortune, is running for the county clerk position against Debra Van Pelt, a Democrat and a current deputy clerk. The Fortunes both received more votes than their competition in the primary election.

Bill Carruthers, chairman of the county Republican party, said the members discussed the candidates, but ultimately there were no nominations for the two positions. Without any nominations, there were no votes.

Carruthers said he would “rather not say” why the Fortunes didn’t receive nominations or endorsements. It’s a matter of fairness, he said.

Critics, however, have complained about the Fortunes’ lack of experience, which is seen as especially important at a time when many elected officials have to work side-by-side with their staff members.

Shane Fortune said he was disappointed that he and his wife didn’t receive the Republican party endorsements, but that there’s a silver lining. He hopes voters will see them as outsiders who don’t belong to the “good ol’ boys club” of Republican politics.

“The good thing about outsiders is that we can bring in new ideas,” he said.

The busy parents of six children aren’t very active with the Tea Party, but Shane Fortune said he and his wife are “Tea Party-like people.”

“Our philosophy is about identical to the Tea Party’s,” he said.

Fortune said he’s had a lack of support from the Republican party from the beginning, echoing several high-profile races across the country in which establishment Republicans and Tea Party candidates have clashed. Fortune said he had personality conflicts with several key members of the party.

“I actually get along much better with Democrats,” he said, pointing out that Democrats like Island County Commissioner John Dean are always polite and receptive.

“I respect the fact that John stands for something and he’ll tell me what he thinks,” he added.

The Fortunes have run unique campaigns. They haven’t raised money and have a limited number of roadside signs. More recently, they declined to do the traditional candidates interviews with the Whidbey News-Times editorial board. Shane Fortune said he and his wife are qualified for the positions and would both make great elected officials, but that might not come through in public forums.

“Carol Ann is at her best when she is speaking one-on-one with ordinary people,” he said.

The Republicans endorsements are as follows: U. S. Senator, Dino Rossi; Second Congressional District representative, John Koster; State representatives, Barbara Bailey and Norma Smith; Island County Commissioner, Kelly Emerson; Island County auditor, Sheilah Crider; Island County assessor, Mary Engle; Island County coroner, Robert Bishop; Island County sheriff, Mark Brown.

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