Ultra-local race spotlight: Sequim, Wash., city council

Welcome to the Wednesday, October 13, Brew. 

By: David Luchs

Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. Three city council candidates in Sequim, Wash., complete Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey
  2. Redistricting updates: Arkansas Legislature approves new congressional district maps, plus developments in Iowa, Ohio, and Virginia
  3. Two months remain until the first filing deadline of 2022

Three city council candidates in Sequim, Wash., complete Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey

Three city council candidates in Sequim, Wash., completed Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey in recent weeks. Sequim is located in Clallam County, in the northwestern corner of the state. Clallam County voted for the nationwide winner in every presidential election dating back to 1980—a longer ongoing streak than any other county.

Ballotpedia is covering municipal elections on Nov. 2 in Clallam County’s three cities—Port Angeles, Sequim, and Forks. In Sequim, 11 offices are up for nonpartisan election, including seats on the city council, the school board, and the water district.

Here are some excerpts from three candidates who recently completed the Ballotpedia survey.

Incumbent Rachel Anderson is running for Sequim City Council Position No. 4 against challenger Daryl Ness. Anderson listed the following three key campaign messages:

  1. “I believe I’m the best choice for City Council seat 4 because I have shown my dedication and commitment to the community. My time as Head Start Policy Council Chairperson, an Olympic Community Action Programs Board Member, a Sequim Education Foundation Board Member, a Sequim Farmers and Artisans Market Board Member and Interim Board President, and as an appointed City Council Member have taught me valuable leadership lessons. It is so critical to the well-being of our community that we come together as team, despite our differences, in order to help the people in our community thrive!
  2. “My top priority is doing everything we can in order to bring more affordable housing to Sequim. Action items I would promote include: applying for grants and building partnerships federally, state-wide, and locally in order to build affordable housing for the workforce within our community.
  3. “I promote trust and civility between Council members and the Sequim community by doing everything I can to role model the necessary skills of a council member. Since being appointed, trust and civility have been priorities for my role as a council member, considering all of the controversy and negative attitude toward Sequim and its leadership over the past couple of years. It’s so important that each council member does their part: actively listening, asking questions, and actively respecting the decisions of local agencies and organizations in order to keep our community safe. Great and trustworthy leaders take responsibility, are dependable, and match their actions to their words.”

Incumbent Brandon Janisse is running for Sequim City Council Position No. 5 against challenger Patrick Day. Janisse listed the following three key campaign messages:

  1. “Committing to a city government that is efficient, effective, responsible and transparent
  2. “Remaining Non-Partisan in a Non-Partisan position
  3. “Supporting Individuals and families who are healing from drug addiction and mental health issues”

Lowell Rathbun is running for the open seat on Sequim City Council Position No. 6. against Keith A. Larkin. Rathbun listed the following three key campaign messages:

  1. “We must bring transparency, trust, and civil discourse back to our city council.
  2. “Sequim is in an urgent housing crisis. Tackling this challenge is a top priority.
  3. “Our city must respond to our homeless, addicted and/or mentally neighbors in a compassionate manner.”

Keep reading

Redistricting updates: Arkansas Legislature approves new congressional district maps, plus developments in Iowa, Ohio, and Virginia

As of Oct. 12, 2021, six states have adopted new state legislative district maps and four have adopted new congressional district maps. As of this date in 2011, 23 states had enacted new state legislative district maps and 21 had adopted new congressional district maps.

Arkansas Legislature approves new maps

The Arkansas General Assembly approved two identical congressional redistricting plans on Oct. 7—one from the House and one from the Senate—and sent them to Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) who may either sign, veto, or take no action on the legislation. If Hutchinson does not act, the maps will be adopted on Oct. 27. Under the proposed maps, two of the state’s counties would be split between multiple congressional districts: Sebastian County, which is split into two districts, and Pulaski County—the state’s most populous county—which is split between three districts. 

Opponents of the proposal said the division of Pulaski County, where less than half the population identifies as white alone, was conducted along partisan and racial lines. The map’s supporters say Pulaski’s central location requires it to be split in order to avoid splitting more counties elsewhere.

Gov. Hutchinson, who is not seeking re-election in 2022, said he would review the proposal this week. While he did not indicate whether he supports the new districts, Hutchinson said, “I would urge [legislators] that you do not want to dilute minority representation or influence in congressional races.”

Both chambers of the General Assembly have Republican majorities.

Iowa Legislature rejects first map proposal

The Iowa Senate rejected the Legislative Services Agency’s (LSA) first proposed congressional and state legislative district boundaries on Oct. 5. The vote was 32-18 along party lines with all Republicans voting against the plan and all Democrats for it. Since this was the LSA’s first proposal, lawmakers could only vote to approve or reject the maps and could not make any amendments. 

After the vote, Senate Majority Leader Jack Whitver (R) said: “Senate Republicans believe LSA can improve the compactness and population deviation of several districts by developing a second redistricting plan. My colleagues and I look forward to reviewing that plan and its compliance with the criteria established in Iowa Code.” Senate Minority Leader Zach Wahls (D) said: “This was a fair map drawn by the nonpartisan, independent commission. It met all the requirements laid out in state law. This is an outrageous use of political power to rig elections in their favor.”

Under state law, the LSA must send a second redistricting plan to the Legislature within 35 days. On Oct. 6, the LSA said it would submit its next proposal by Oct. 21. On Sept. 14, the Iowa Supreme Court extended the state’s deadline to complete legislative redistricting to Dec. 1.

Virginia misses initial redistricting deadline

The Virginia Redistricting Commission did not meet its initial Oct. 10 deadline to complete a legislative redistricting plan as specified in state law. The commission now has an additional 14 days to submit a legislative redistricting proposal which the General Assembly can only approve or reject without making amendments. 

If the commission does not reconvene to draft legislative maps, or if the maps they submit to the General Assembly are rejected, the Virginia Supreme Court will redraw the districts. Currently, a majority of the court’s members are Republican gubernatorial appointees. Virginia is conducting redistricting this year under a new process that state voters approved in 2020 which established a 16-member commission of eight legislators and eight citizens. Virginia’s new legislative maps are scheduled to go into effect for the 2023 election cycle.

Ohio Redistricting Commission has until Oct. 31 to develop congressional map

The Ohio Legislature did not complete the state’s congressional redistricting plan by the Sept. 30 deadline, which means that the Ohio Redistricting Commission has until Oct. 31 to adopt such a plan. That seven-member commission is composed of Gov. Mike DeWine (R), State Auditor Keith Faber (R), Secretary of State Frank LaRose (R), and two legislators from each party. A majority of the commission’s members, including two members belonging to the minority party, must agree on a map. If the commission is unable to adopt a map, state legislators will have a second chance to adopt a congressional redistricting plan by Nov. 30. That map would have to be approved by three-fifths of the legislature’s total membership, including one-third of the minority party’s members, to be valid until the next census.

Keep reading 

Two months remain until the first filing deadline of 2022

Only two months remain until the first filing deadline of the 2022 election cycle. Candidates running on a party ballot for state-level office in Texas next year have until Dec. 13, 2021, to file their candidacy

The only other state with a 2022 filing deadline taking place this year is North Carolina. Candidates for state office have until Dec. 17, 2021, to file there. The next filing deadline is not until Jan. 7, 2022, for candidates running for state-level office in Kentucky.

Texas and North Carolina hold the earliest primaries next year. Texas’ primary is set for March 1 and North Carolina’s is scheduled for March 8. The next states holding primaries are Indiana and Ohio, with primaries scheduled for May 3.

In all, two states are holding primaries in March next year, with 11 holding primaries in May, 18 in June, 14 in August, four in September, and one in November. 

Two dates in 2022 each have three state filing deadlines taking place—March 11 (California, Georgia, and Idaho) and June 1 (Alaska, Kansas, and Wisconsin).

In 2020, there were six states with filing deadlines in 2019, with the earliest being Arkansas’ Nov. 11, 2019, deadline. In 2018, the most recent midterm election year, there were two states (Illinois and Texas) with 2017 filing deadlines.

Keep reading