Editorial: Whidbey's candidates without a party

Island County has two unique political candidates, Shane and Carol Ann Fortune, who for all intents and purposes are people without a party.

An amicable couple with few if any qualifications for the jobs they are seeking, they won their respective primary elections under the ballot statement, “Prefers Republican party.”

But last week, in a rare move, the Island County Republican Party refused to say they prefer the Fortunes. Republican leaders formally endorsed the slate of the other Republican primary winners, but withheld endorsement of Shane Fortune for Island County treasurer, and Carol Ann Fortune for Island County clerk.

Republican leaders were a bit coy about the reasoning for the non-endorsements, but the implied message is that the Democrats have far better candidates. Democrat Ana Maria Nunez is the current chief deputy treasurer, and Democrat Debra Van Pelt is the current deputy clerk.

Shane Fortune describes himself as a substitute school teacher, while Carol Ann Fortune points to jobs she held as a college student for her credentials to be Island County clerk. In recent years, she’s been busy raising their six children.

Amazingly, both of the Fortunes received more primary votes than their Democratic opponents. That makes it ever more strange that the Republicans refused to endorse them for the general election. After all, Island County has a long history of on-the-job training for its elected officials. For most positions, any county resident 18 or over who is not a felon is qualified to run for office.

Perhaps the problem was that Shane Fortune admitted to admiring certain Democrats. They also have stated they will not sit down to discuss issues with this newspaper’s editorial board. Perhaps “Independent” would be a better description, but independents don’t win elections.

Despite the Republican party’s rejection, the Fortunes still have a couple of things going for them. They’re not Democrats, their last name is rather nifty for a candidate, and they’ll still have the “Prefers Republican party” label along with their names on the ballot.

All we know at this point is that the Democrats had better run hard, or they risk suffering a real misfortune or two in the November election.

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