Law Says Council ‘Non-Candidate’ Bob Edgar Will Advance To General Election

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by Ralph Nichols

With “non-candidate” Bob Edgar well in front in the primary contest for Burien City Council, as ballots cast in the Aug. 16 primary continue to be counted, local voters want to know:

If Edgar remains in the top two when election results are certified, which appears likely, will his name appear on the November general election ballot since he withdrew as a candidate in June?

If it does, and if he remains a non-candidate but wins the general election contest, will he then be elected to the city council anyway?

The answers are yes, and yes, according to King County Elections, the Secretary of State’s office, the Revised Code of Washington and the Washington Administrative Code.

Left unanswered, however, is whether non-candidate Edgar, if he wins election despite not campaigning, would then decline to be sworn in and not be seated on the new city council.

Or, in the meantime, will he reverse course, now declare himself a candidate after all, and campaign for the office?

Once again, Edgar apparently has little interest in letting Burien voters know what he’s up to. It was The B-Town Blog – not Edgar – who first reported that he had withdrawn as a city council candidate (read that report here).

And Thursday (Aug. 18), Edgar did not respond to repeated voice mails from The B-Town Blog asking for comments.

Currently he has received 44.83 percent of the vote for Position 4. Incumbent City Councilman Gordon Shaw has 38.19 percent, and challenger Joey Martinez has 16.15 percent.

Files, Then Withdraws
Edgar filed for the council seat with King County Elections prior to the June 10 deadline but, in a June 20 letter to the Washington Public Disclosure Commission (PDC), which monitors campaign financing, said he was withdrawing his name as a candidate.

His letter was sent to the PDC after the statutory deadline for candidates to withdraw and keep their names off the ballot, but before the deadline for filing his initial campaign information with the PDC. Here’s Edgar’s letter:

“I … contacted King County Elections and requested to withdraw from the upcoming election for the Burien City Council position No. 4,” Edgar wrote. “This letter has been written to meet this requirement of your offices.”

King County Elections had advised him to contact the PDC and state “that I would not be seeking office and would not be accepting and spending funds for this election. The PDC, in turn, told him he wouldn’t need to file candidate reporting forms with that agency.

State elections law – RCW 29A.24.131 and WAC 434-215-065 – mandates that because Edgar informed King County Elections he was pulling out of the race only after the June 16 deadline for withdrawal, his name must appear on the primary election ballot and, if he finishes in the top two, the November general election ballot as well.

His name also remains in King County Elections’ online voters’ guide as well as in the printed version:

Despite his attempt to withdraw from the race, Bob Edgar's profile is still in the voter's guide.

Revised Code of Washington 29A.24.131
A candidate may withdraw his or her declaration of candidacy at any time before the close of business on the Thursday following the last day for candidates to file under RCW 29A.24.050 by filing, with the officer with whom the declaration of candidacy was filed, a signed request that his or her name not be printed on the ballot…. The filing officer may permit the withdrawal of a filing for any elected office of a city, town, or special district at the request of the candidate at any time before a primary if the primary ballots for that city, town, or special district have not been ordered.

Washington Administrative Code 434-215-065
Consistent with RCW 29A.24.131, a candidate may withdraw his or her declaration of candidacy at any time before the close of business on the Thursday following the last day for candidates to file. The candidate must file a signed request that his or her name not be printed on the ballot. This request to withdraw must be filed with the officer who accepted the declaration of candidacy and, once filed, cannot be revoked…. The filing officer has discretion to permit the withdrawal of a filing for any elected office of a city, town, or special district at the request of the candidate at any time before a primary if the primary election ballots have not been formatted.

County, State Officials Comment
Therefore, said Kathy Streit, spokeswoman for King County Elections, “legally [Edgar] did not withdraw … candidates have to do it within the withdrawal period….

“So his name went on the primary ballot. If he finishes in the top two, he proceeds on to the general election. If he wins he can elect not to take office. It’s up to him.”

The early deadline for withdrawal is needed “because ballot formatting begins immediately” after that, added Katie Blinn, co-drector of elections with the Secretary of State’s office. “It has to be done by the drop-dead date.”

Blinn also said Edgar’s name, even as a non-candidate, will be on the general election ballot. If he wins, “it is up to him if he wants to take office.” If he declined, that would create a vacancy on the city council.

PDC spokeswoman Lori Anderson said every year a candidate files, then looks at the personal financial information required by her office, and decides to withdraw – but does so after the deadline for withdrawal.

And, continued Anderson, should Edgar – after having given notice he was pulling out of the race – win the general election then decide to take office and be sworn in, “it would be the first time in my 12 years with the PDC” that a candidate in this circumstance chose to be seated.

Should Edgar win the general election, even if he did not solicit, receive or spend campaign funds, and did not campaign for office, PDC “staff would have to decide what to do in that situation,” Anderson said.

It is possible “there could be some infringement [of campaign laws] for not filing [required candidate reports] all along.”

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13 Responses to “Law Says Council ‘Non-Candidate’ Bob Edgar Will Advance To General Election”
  1. Wheels says:

    Maybe he’s on vacation.

    I would support Edgar for his positions and critical thinking. However, not answering a crucial question in a timely manner is one of the major flaws in Burien government. If he can’t clarify this situation soon, electing him seems less like a solution to anything.

  2. Ed Dacy says:

    It is amazing the votes he got without even asking one person to vote for him or encouraging a vote by an e-mail or other form.

    This appears to open a new way to run for office, actually an old way, why disclose your financies and other questions on the PDC forms, if you don’t have to.

    This is going to be an interesting story to follow.

    I would hope that Mr Edgar would withdraw his letter to the PDC and get caught up on the forms, pay any fines and run without any taint of improper behavior.

    But if he does not wish to run then he should state his intentions if he wins in the general election.

  3. elizabeth2 says:

    Maybe he got the votes without campaigning because he has a reputation for integrity and honesty that does not need to be “encouraged” by means typical to politicians today?
    Try this thought: “A reputation for good judgment, for fair dealing, for truth, and for rectitude, is itself a fortune”… Hnery Ward Beecher……or
    “A good name is better than bags of gold.” Cervantes…or…
    “An honest reputation is within the reach of all men; they obtain it by social virtues, and by doing their duty. This kind of reputation, it is true, is neither brilliant nor startling, but it is often the most useful for happiness”

    Votes do not need to be bought by advertisements, emails, campaigning; they can come by good charater and reputation alone.

  4. Big Nate says:

    To the B-Town primary voters who would cast a vote for a man who has made it clear that he is not interested in becoming a Burien City Councilman, what a sad state of affairs you have put the City in. This calls into question all the other City Officials who ever won an election in this City. If there are any more voters who think he should take the position, if he still gets the votes you are out to lunch. There are two other candidates who are serious about the position. I am curious to know what the problem could be with the two of them, SERIOUSLY.

    • elizabeth2 says:

      Happily” out to lunch here! I am not sure why you think our votes “calls into question all the other city officials who ever won an election in this city?, but….

      I was voting my conscience and my beliefs. I was well aware that Mr. Edgar was no longer running. I still believe in what he stands for and my vote is a shot across the bow to the other candidates.

      It is a way of telling them to examine their policies and stances and try to figure out why more people voted for a non-running candidate than for the them.

      It is a pretty damning condemnation of the the politics of the other candidates – they cannot even beat someone who isn’t running! SERIOUSLY!

  5. big Nate says:

    Dear Elizabeth
    Voting your conscience and beliefs is a noble endevour, but your vote for a non-candidate does nothing for getting the City of Burien the best Council available.

    It is clear to all that Mr. Edgar does not want to be a Councilman, but there are two Candidates that are ready, willing and able to take over Position #4. We need to redirect shooting across bow’s and damnng condemnations to finding the best Councilmam available.

  6. Thom Grey says:

    Duh Big Nate,
    SERIOUSLY some of the voters obviously didn’t agree with or didn’t like what the other two candidates had to say in the Voters Pamplet. Or some of the voters don’t like how the current councilman is doing city business. There are some pretty big issues with the Burien budget and other things that Shaw and Martinez are not listening to the public and the voters about. So no surprise, the voters don’t want to vote for them. Your logic that this now calls into question ever election that has ever happened in Burien makes no sense. Big Nate, you are concerned about the best available Councilmam for the city. So maybe you will file to run next time.

  7. big Nate says:

    Mr. Gray-

    I think we can we agree that a vote for a non-candidate is a vote for the remaining candidates. What ever the reasoning, the bottom line is that Shaw is the winner of position #4. (Thank you non-candidate voters) If Mr. Martinez was in the run- off election, we would at least have a chance to vett both candidates and at least elect the best of the two. Shaw being the incubent, we have had a chance to see him in action. I would like to have taken a closer look into Mr. Martinez and give him a chance to show what he would bring to the Council.That will never happen (Thank you non-candidate voters). Yes, I am concerned about the best AVAILABLE councilman. It takes a special person to take on a part time job that requires a great amount of administrative ability with so much responsibity and so little pay and no appreciation. That special person is not me nor you, as youreveal by your comments.

  8. Thom Grey says:

    Dude Big Nate,
    You are one of those dudes who always wants the last word and as far as I am concerned you can have it. But Dude, I don’t agree with you and your logic-as you stated I would agree with you. King County decides who is the winner of any elections, not you. King County decides who is running in the elections not you. Duh, From what I have seen of some of the council members, some of them don’t have a great amount of administrative experience or skill even after serving for years. Some of the council members don’t feel they are responsible to the citizens and talk on their cell phones during council meetings. And while you may not be the person for the council job, I’m not saying that I couldn’t do that job. Dude, a fair number of citizens are smart enough to do the job. You want Martinez to run again-send him a note of encouragement and a campaign donation. There is another election in two years.

  9. big Nate says:

    @Thom Grey

    There has to be something we can agree on. Can we start with the premise, that Burien should have a City Council of skilled administrative types, that are responsible to the citizens? I ask you, if Mr. Martinez turns out to meet those two criterior would you support him for one of the council positions? I pray for a comment!

    • elizabeth2 says:

      I think, bigNate, that you are onto something – yes, council members do need to be skilled in adminsitrative matters and be responsible to the citizens.

      However, there are many, many citizens, all with differing and something conflicting views and politics. Knowing these matters is also a critical element to supporting a candidate

      In addition, it might be prudent to have some concept of the honesty, integrity, and personality of a candidate as well before commiting to support. Experience, ability to compromise, manner of dealing with constituents, knowledge of local politics
      are also things to consider.

      Maybe the voting public did not feel comfortable that either of the candidates met these criteria and thus voted their conscience, whether practical in your mind or not.And it seems there were a lot of voters who did indeed vote that way – maybe we are sending a message to the candidates like Shaw that we do not like his politics and will vote accordingly.

      This is a democracy, warped or not, and we are all free to vote as we please and as we see appropriate.

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