Race set for auditor

A pre-election blitz by friends of Jim Palmer shocked the Island County political establishment by creating an opponent in November for Auditor Sheilah Crider.

Crider, a former Oak Harbor City Councilwoman and Republican Party chair, appeared to be a shoo-in for her first four-year term having faced no opposition. Hers was the only name on the Aug. 19 primary election ballot for the position and she seemed to be home free.

Some islanders apparently sensed that the situation wasn’t right. Those who serve in elective office should have an opponent. Crider was appointed to the position by the county commissioners and regardless of her performance didn’t deserve a free ride to a four-year term.

Enter the Palmer partisans, who, he explained, were concerned about some Auditor’s Office mishaps during Crider’s short tenure. A proofreading error forced an expensive reprint of some 40,000 ballots and 40,000 voters pamphlets. Earlier, a page of the military voter’s pamphlets had to be reprinted when part of a candidate’s statement was omitted.

Hence, a write-in campaign for Palmer was launched.

Palmer needed at least 1 percent of the votes cast for auditor to advance to the general election, where his name will appear on the ballot. He easily achieved that goal. As of Monday’s count, he had 453 write-in votes, while Crider has 16,129 votes. Palmer only needed about 160 votes, so his write-in showing was impressive.

The lightning campaign to get Palmer’s name on the November ballot was beneficial to Island County voters who now have a choice for auditor. Palmer is a formidable candidate. He presently serves on the Oak Harbor City Council and has a long history in the local business community, as an owner and a consultant.

To keep her position, Crider will have to campaign hard. If she wins, she deserves to be auditor.

That’s how the system is suppose to work and, thanks to all those who wrote in Jim Palmer’s name, that’s how it will work in November.

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