Who has filed for Whatcom County offices in 2023

City, county, school board seats up for election
May 19, 2023 at 5:42 p.m.
Updated May 23, 2023 at 9:05 a.m.
Joel Johnson collected 2,506 signatures for a petition to appear on the ballot this year in the Bellingham mayor's race. Johnson either needed to pay the $2,211 filing fee or collect one signature for every dollar in the fee. The Whatcom County Auditor's Office will confirm the signatures on Saturday, May 20.
Joel Johnson collected 2,506 signatures for a petition to appear on the ballot this year in the Bellingham mayor's race. Johnson either needed to pay the $2,211 filing fee or collect one signature for every dollar in the fee. The Whatcom County Auditor's Office will confirm the signatures on Saturday, May 20. (Ralph Schwartz/Cascadia Daily News)

Staff Reporter

The race for Bellingham mayor in 2023 includes a candidate who already set himself apart, before his campaign even started.

Rather than paying $2,211 and change for the filing fee for that office — 1% of the mayor's annual salary — Joel Johnson planned to collect 2,211 signatures instead. 

It's a little-if-ever-used option for candidates who might find it easier to hustle for thousands of signatures in lieu of coming up with thousands of dollars to qualify for the election ballot.

“It’s pretty rare,” said Whatcom County Auditor Diana Bradrick, who is in charge of elections in the county. “I don’t know in the history of Whatcom County if anyone has ever successfully presented a petition, but I do know, in the 13 years I’ve been here, we’ve never had one.”

Johnson showed up at the auditor’s office shortly after 4 p.m. on May 19 to turn in petitions with 2,506 signatures. Election workers will review the petitions on Saturday, May 20, to determine whether Johnson has enough signatures from active registered voters who live within the Bellingham city limits to qualify for the ballot.

If elected, Johnson said he would declare a public health emergency to more aggressively address homelessness. He said his approach would combine “compassion and accountability.”

“We can have a form of accountability that’s not criminalizing,” Johnson said. “It’s going to take resources, but if someone is consuming fentanyl, for example, on the public sidewalk, that behavior needs to be interrupted.”

If Johnson makes the ballot, he would join an already-crowded field in the race for Bellingham mayor that includes incumbent Seth Fleetwood, council member Kristina Michele Martens, Kim Lund, Mike McAuley and Chris McCoy.

The Bellingham mayor’s race and other contests with three or more candidates will appear on the Aug. 1 primary ballot. The top-two vote getters in the primaries, and any one- or two-person races, will be on the general election ballot in November.

Below is a list of selected Whatcom County races, including countywide seats and offices in the City of Bellingham, other cities and school districts. For a complete list, visit the county elections website. All races are nonpartisan. Incumbents are indicated with “(I).”

Whatcom County executive

Satpal Sidhu (I)

Alicia Rule

Dan Purdy

Barry Buchanan

Misty Flowers

Sukhwant Gill

Whatcom County Council

District 4

Kathy Kershner (I)

Mark Stremler

Katherine Orlowski

District 5

Jackie Dexter

Ben Elenbaas (I)

At-Large B

Jon Scanlon

Atul Deshmane

Hannah Ordos

Jerry Burns

Whatcom County assessor

Rebecca Xczar (I)

Whatcom County auditor

Stacy Henthorn

A. Jay Mc Affee

Whatcom County sheriff

Doug Chadwick

Donnell “Tank” Tanksley

Whatcom County treasurer

Steven Oliver (I)

Port of Bellingham commissioner

District 3

Bobby Briscoe (I)

Bellingham mayor

Seth Fleetwood (I)

Kim Lund

Mike McAuley

Kristina Michele Martens

Christopher McCoy

Bellingham City Council

Ward 1

Hannah Stone (I)

Michi Marcher

Eamonn Collins

Ward 3

Daniel Hammill (I)

Liz Darrow

Ward 5

Lisa Anderson (I)


Paul Schissler

Garrett O’Brien

Jace Cotton

Russ Whidbee

Maya Morales

Blaine City Council

Position 1

Richard May (I)

Shane Williams

Position 3

Steven Tojek

Sonia Hurt

Position 5

Mary Lou Steward (I)

Everson City Council

Position 1

Tim Hanowell

Position 4

John Hammond (I)

Position 5

Gary Locke

Hadia Seddiqi

Ashley Brown (I)

Ferndale mayor

Greg Hansen (I)

Jon Mutchler

Ferndale City Council

Position 1

Herb Porter (I)

Matthew Durkee

Position 2

Ali Hawkinson (I)

Position 3

Erin Gunter (I)

Position 4

McKenna Pinto-Gonzalez

Wyatt Shedd Stewart

Lynden City Council

Position 1

Gary L. Bode (I)

Position 2

Lee Beld

Position 3

Gary A. Vis

Position 4

Brent Lenssen (I)

Nooksack City Council

Position 4

Dave Finet

Position 5

Marshall Judy (I)

Sumas City Council

Position 3

Jessica Koehler

Bob Bromley (I)

Position 5

Jesse Clawson (I)

John Van Wingerden III

Bellingham School Board

Position 1

Camille Diaz Hackler (I)

Position 2

Katie Rose (I)

Aran Clauson

Position 3

Scott Ritchey

Ferndale School Board

District 1

Kevin Erickson (I)

Beth Perry

District 2

Adrian Sheridan

Brent Bode

Antonio Machado Catano

District 3

Toni Jefferson (I)

Nancy Button

Blaine School Board

District 1

Erika Creydt

Kimberly Akre (I)

District 2

Michael Abrams

Ben Lazarus

Dean Berkeley

Hillary Bean

Tana Perkins Reneau

District 3

Jeffery D. Carrington

Cliff Freeman

District 4

Ryan Ford

Derrick Bovenkamp

District 5

Don Leu (I)

Lynden School Board

Position 1

Khush Brar

Position 2

Nick Sawka

Danny Martinez

Position 3

Terry Montague

David E. Vis (I)

Jim Verburg

Position 5

Kenneth “Spin” Owsley (I)

Doris Smith

Meridian School Board

District 1

Corey Culp 

Jana (Bjornstad) Haugen

District 4

Marty Gray (I)

District 5

Michelle Simmons

J. Riley Sweeney

Craig Mitchell (I)

Malia Pickett

Nooksack Valley School Board

District 3

Joshua Clawson

Shelley Harder

At-Large 1

Ty Elmendorf (I)

At-Large 2

Tanya Silves

Mount Baker School Board

District 1

Danielle Gray (I)

District 2

Edward Fox (I)

District 5

Russ Pfeiffer-Hoyt (I)

Theresa Sygitowicz

This story was updated at 9:05 a.m. on May 23, to mark candidates who had withdrawn their names from the ballot with a strikethrough. Also, Ashley Brown was added to the Everson City Council Position 5 race after the filing period closed.

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