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Wednesday count confirms progressive, conservative advance in county race

Scanlon, Ordos to appear on November ballot

Jon Scanlon reacts to results as he cheers with one fist in the air.
Jon Scanlon reacts to results Tuesday, Aug. 1 at Elizabeth Station. Scanlon received 37.38% of the votes in the preliminary count of the at-large seat on the Whatcom County Council. (Andy Bronson/Cascadia Daily News)
By Ralph Schwartz Staff Reporter

Jon Scanlon and Hannah Ordos will square off this November in a Whatcom County Council race, with a lot at stake for the council’s balance of power.

Scanlon’s first-place finish in the Tuesday, Aug. 1, primary race for a council at-large seat earned him a spot on the general election ballot with Ordos, who came in second, according to vote totals available Wednesday, Aug. 2. 

Scanlon had 37.3% of the votes to Ordos’ 30.9%. Atul Deshmane, who currently sits on the Whatcom Public Utility District board of commissioners, and Jerry Burns of Kendall will not advance. They received 22.8% and 8.7% of the primary vote, respectively.

Whatcom County Council at-large candidate Jon Scanlon listens to a supporter as he gestures while he talks.
Whatcom County Council at-large candidate Jon Scanlon listens to a supporter as he waits for election results at Elizabeth Station. (Andy Bronson/Cascadia Daily News)

“I’m very happy with the results tonight,” Scanlon said Tuesday. “I think it demonstrates having a plan and sticking to it. We knocked on 7,700 doors across the county … and I plan on continuing to do that this fall.”

Ordos said Tuesday she was “cautiously optimistic” about her lead over Deshmane. More votes remain to be counted countywide, but her lead appeared secure after the second vote count.

“I think my initial feeling is feeling very humbled about the amount of support I’ve received with the community,” Ordos said.

Either Scanlon or Ordos will replace council member Carol Frazey, who decided not to seek reelection after five-plus years in the seat. Frazey is one of four progressives on the council, so November’s outcome in this race will determine whether conservatives or progressives have a majority for the next two years. 

Ordos, a customer support manager for a nutritional supplement company, declared herself “nonpartisan” in an interview, but she has the endorsement of the Whatcom County Republican Party. Scanlon, a board member of local environmental group RE Sources, is listed in the Progressive Voters Guide, a popular go-to for voters on the political left published by Fuse Washington. 

The other county council race this year is in District 4, centered on Lynden, and will feature two conservatives in the general election. 

This story was updated 5:18 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 2, after additional ballots were counted.

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