Public Service and running for office
The Whatcom Democrats' Candidates Committee works year-round networking and talking to prospective candidates. Their goal is to ensure that in every race in which the Whatcom Democrats wants a presence, that we have at least one “Good Democrat” candidate who is likely to get the party endorsement and receive strong party rank and file election support. The Candidates Committee includes a number of past elected officials and experienced campaign managers. Find the committee chair HERE.
The Candidates Committee is not the Endorsement Committee, but it plays an important role in helping prospective candidates understand the values of the party and the requirements of running for office. They look for candidates that reflect our politics and our diversity.
Other qualities that are important for a successful candidate include being capable of serving fellow citizens, understanding the duties of office and having the competence to carry out those duties. But before they can have the position they will need to run a campaign, so the committee is also looking for people who are committed to do the hard work to be elected including fundraising and wanting to work with other party-endorsed candidates and the Campaign Committee to get our entire slate elected.
When the committee discusses the efforts needed to campaign for and then serve in office, some prospective candidates decide they are not prepared to run at this time. In other cases, there may be two or three candidates ready to run for a position. One of the biggest challenges for the committee is convincing people that getting elected is possible, that they can grow into the public role, and that the party will provide support. Our efforts to organize in every precinct in Whatcom County will go a long way toward providing the party support candidates need to win election.
Official candidate filing is done during a one-week period in May of each year, for the August Primary Election. Contact the County Auditor for specific information.
The Candidates Committee also explains to the candidate the endorsement process, but does not play any role in making endorsements. A special meeting of the membership of the Whatcom County Democratic Central Committee will be held prior to Primary Elections to give candidates an opportunity to present their case for endorsement and election. The membership votes at this meeting on any endorsements they want to make. Democratic candidates may be able to access party resources prior to endorsement; see the Endorsement Policy.
A political party endorsement is a statement of support of a candidate for public office. It is also an internal policy decision saying where the organization's resources will be spent. It is no different than a PTA, voter's league, or labor union picking which candidates they want to support and work for, as an organization. This is why we require membership in the Whatcom Democrats, as an organization, in order to vote on our endorsement decisions.
A party endorsement has no direct effect on which candidates may run for office. Endorsement does not decide which candidates qualify for the general election ballot, the way a party nomination normally would.
State election law governs the rules of the Primary Election, and currently in Washington State, primary elections are run like non-partisan primaries, advancing the top two vote-getters to the General Election ballot, regardless of party affiliation. Primaries (in WA State) for partisan offices do not constitute a party nomination process.
Only voters casting a ballot in a Primary Election have the power to eliminate, or advance, a candidate to the general election ballot.
Since we do not hold public nominating primary elections in Washington at this time, the Washington State Democratic Party has adopted its own process and rules to designate who is the nominee of the "Democratic Party" in partisan races in Washington. These rules have no direct impact on the endorsement policy of the Whatcom Democrats.
WA State Democratic Party Rules for Nomination
Elective and Appointed Positions in Whatcom County
Elective Offices in Whatcom County, and date term ends HERE
Whatcom County Boards and Commissions HERE
City of Bellingham Boards and Commissions HERE