As the quote says, absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. But...
The fact that both Bryon Monohon, Mayor of Forks, and Sissi Bruch, Port Angeles City Council member are considering running for County Commissioner, would seem to tell us that Mike Doherty is not running again. It's difficult to imagine either Bryon or Sissi planning to run without checking in with Mike first, so I'm assuming he's out. (And who can blame him?)
If both Bryon and Sissi run, it will mean a primary for them. Given the latent sexism in the local electorate, and the recent problems within the Democratic Party, I'd say the odds would be in Bryon's favor. The last two women who ran as Democrats for County Commissioner were both sabotaged from within their own party by Matthew Randazzo. Of course, he's gone, but the dysfunction and distrust he created is still there. That being the case, I have a hard time picturing the Democrats rallying around Sissi. And given how closely Bryon is identified with Forks and that county district, I'd say he has a natural advantage in a primary that Sissi doesn't. (Does anyone in Forks even know who she is, really?)
We don't have a local volcano for sacrifices, Sissi,
but would the biomass incinerator work for you?
But either way, the Democrats are in real trouble. Remember: In one sense, Mike Doherty "lost" the last primary, garnering only 47% of the vote. But because there were two Republicans in the race, they split the rest of the votes, and Doherty and Robin Poole went on to the general election.
The guy who really lost that 2010 primary, Bill Peach of Forks, has already announced his candidacy for this race, and if the Republicans are smart, they'll work to keep anyone else from their party out of it. As a former candidate, Peach is a known quantity. As a Forks resident, he matches Monohon's west end affiliation. He even has a tribal connection (former executive director of the Quileute tribe) to match Sissi's connection with the Elwha. And, as a retired Rayonier employee, he's got the kind of connections that could draw in big, dumb timber dollars and votes.
Bill Peach may stick a Forks in you to see if you're done, Bryon.
If Peach ends ups being the only Republican in the race, it's probably his to lose. Again, in the 2010 general election, Mike Doherty barely won with 51% of the vote. Given his history, standing in the county, and the undeniable idiocy of Poole, that was a scary-close margin.
That same year in the general election (in Clallam County), Dino Rossi beat Patty Murray. Doug Cloud beat Norm Dicks. Jim McEntire beat Steve Tharinger. And Kevin Van De Wege just barely beat Dan Gase. This tells us two things.
One is that local Republican candidates still have an advantage in Clallam County itself, but have a harder time competing outside the county in this blue state. The other thing this shows us is that the Republicans and their candidates keep coming back. McEntire and Gase both lost elections in 2010, but are both holding elected office now, in different positions.
Of course, there could still be half a dozen other candidates out there that spring up, throwing all this into freewheeling west end chaos. But right now, with how the race is shaping up, if I were Bill Peach I'd be smiling. Because if nothing else changes, he'll be a peach alright, and the other two will be sacrificial lambs.
Insert your preferred Peach pun and/or Republican joke here.
And try to remain calm.
How about you? Are you looking forward to Peach season? Any thoughts? Do you think Clallam County would be well served by having three Republican Commissioners?