Andrew Shelton out of council race, still on primary ballot

August 5, 2011

By Tim Pfarr

Moot primary election to cost city about $8,000

City Council candidate Andrew Shelton announced July 13 that he was aborting his campaign to run for Position 4, held by Sonny Putter.

With Shelton out of the race, a primary election is no longer necessary. However, his late withdrawal leaves the city with an $8,000 tab for the election that is now moot, according to King County Elections spokeswoman Kim Van Eckstrom.

Andrew Shelton

Shelton said he made the decision after taking a new job with greater time commitments.

“I don’t think it’s fair to ask people for their votes or ask people for their donations when I have this pretty massive time conflict,” said Shelton, the city Parks Commission chairman.

Shelton said he was unaware the city was responsible for paying for the primary election.

He said he has not accepted any campaign contributions, and that he took his new job after the June 16 deadline to withdraw from the race. Shelton also did not submit a statement to the voter’s guide, which he would have needed to do by June 17, Van Eckstrom said.

Cities are required to pay for a portion of elections costs if local issues are on the ballot, Van Eckstrom said. The amount the city pays is calculated based on the ratio of city items on the ballot to the total number of items coming forward across the county.

The city paid $15,000 for its primary election in 2009, which contained one City Council race.

Shelton is running against Gordon Bisset and Frank Irigon for Position 4, and there would have been no primary election had Shelton withdrawn from the race before the deadline.

The race for City Council Position 4 will be the only city issue on the ballot this month, and if Shelton were to finish in the top two in the primary, he would still advance to the general election, Van Eckstrom said.

Nonetheless, Shelton said he would refrain from campaigning if he were to advance to the general election.

“This is not a roundabout way to not campaign and see what happens,” he said. “I don’t think that’s fair to anybody.”

Shelton announced in April that he planned to run for City Council, and he filed paperwork with the state Public Disclosure Commission on May 26. He was the first to publicly announce his candidacy.

Van Eckstrom said it is important for candidates and voters to remember to take elections seriously.

“Elections are a serious matter,” she said. “Elections do cost us money.”

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