Filings portend busy election season in Island County

Close of filing week for open public offices on Whidbey Island promises a busy election season ahead.

In Oak Harbor, the four City Council positions up for grabs are now all contested races. That includes Position 7, which is held by Danny Paggao.

Paggao is now serving his 20th year on the council.

Paggao doesn’t know his challenger, Mike Piccone, 38, but said he was glad someone filed. He ran unopposed four years ago and each race should be contested, he said.

“It’s very much welcome,” Paggao said.

Piccone is a former Navy man with two tours to Iraq under his belt. He retired as an explosive ordinance technician in 2008 due to a back injury he sustained while training.

Today, he’s an at-home dad for two children but wants to be of service to the community.

He looked at police work but his back injury prevented a career in law enforcement, he said.

“The idea is be a public servant and still make a difference,” Piccone said. “This is something I believe I can do.”

As of Friday noon, incumbent Bob Severns is being challenged for Position 4 by Lucas Yonkman for; Sandi Peterson is hoping to unseat Joel Servatius for Position 5; and Skip Pohtilla will face off against incumbent Jim Campbell for Position 6.

Filing hours extend to 4 p.m., after press time, so additional late filers may also be running for office.

Other developments since the opening of filing week include Bill Larsen’s bid for the District 2 commissioner seat on the Port of Coupeville. He will face off against Jim Patton, the port’s current executive director, who filed for the position Monday.

It is currently held by Benye Weber, who has decided not to seek reelection.

A challenger has also emerged against Mike Diamanti for the District 3 seat, formerly held by Laura Blankenship.

Richard Bowen filed for the position Thursday afternoon.

A race also developed for the Position 2 commissioner seat at Central Whidbey Fire and Rescue between Stan Anderson and incumbent Cheryl Engle.

Anderson is the administrative officer for the Island Fire Academy and a former 37-year volunteer firefighter, and Engle is finishing her fourth six-year term, having first taken office in 1990.

For Oak Harbor School Board, Bill Burnett is looking to unseat Corey Johnson for Position 4.

Burnett has run for school board before and is known in the community for his consistent, sometimes controversial, comments on newspaper stories while Johnson is finishing up his second four-year term.

Gary Wallin, the Position 5 incumbent, looks like he will be running unopposed as are will Coupeville School Board members Chris Chan, Position 3; Glenda Merwine, Position 4; and Kathleen Anderson, Position 5.

Whidbey General Hospital appears as if it will see little change as well. Georgia Gardner, Position 2, and Ron Wallin, Position 3 are seeking reelection unchallenged.

The same is true for two candidates for Coupeville Town Council. Incumbent Dianne Binder for Position 4 and newcomer Pat Powell for Position 5, are unopposed.

Position 5 is occupied by Larry Cort, who has decided not to run for another term.

Candidates for North Whidbey Park and Recreation District include Kirk Huffer for Position 2, Steven Hoffmire for Position 3, David Walton for Position 4, and Allan McDougall for Position 5.

Washington has a top-two primary system in which the two candidates with the most votes, regardless of party move forward to the November ballot.

The primary election is on Aug. 6 and general election Nov. 5.


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