Editorial: Limited primary action

The Sept. 20 primary election promises to be a yawner for most voters on North and Central Whidbey Island.

City of Oak Harbor offices won’t even make the primary ballot. Only one office, that of City Council Position 4, attracted more than two candidates in the primary filing period. However, Kevin Helwick quickly withdrew his name, leaving City Council incumbent Sheilah Crider to run against challenger Jeffery Kelly in November. Helwick, a car dealer, never explained why he filed or why he withdrew, so his fleeting involvement in local politics remains a mystery.

Oak Harbor votes will find only one local race on the primary ballot. For School Director Position 4, Corey Johnson, Ace James III and Brien Lillquist are seeking the seat vacated by Kathy Chalfant. Had she chosen to run again, Chalfant likely would have won easily. Her absence at least makes the race interesting. The two survivors will advance to the November general election.

The hottest primary election may take place in Coupeville where four people are seeking the Position 2 seat on the school board. Incumbent Mitch Howard has been challenged by Cyncy Van Dyk, Larrie Ford and Mark Varljean. Only the incumbents filed for the other two open school board positions, so perhaps Mr. Howard stepped on a few toes during his tenure. If so, we’ll no doubt learn about it during the primary campaign.

And that’s the extent of the 2005 election primary on North and Central Whidbey, except for one Admiral’s Cove Water District race which attracted three candidates. But it’s still important to pay attention to the races and vote, so look for the primary ballot in you mailbox toward the end of August or early September. As Auditor Suzanne Sinclair announced last week, there will be no polling places open until the November general election.

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