Chapman makes it official, declares candidacy as a Republican

By Jim CaseyPeninsula Daily News

PORT ANGELES, WA - 4/2/08 — Clallam County Commissioner Mike Chapman quietly has declared officially he'll seek re-election — as a Republican.

Although Chapman didn't — and likely wouldn't — say it, his action late last week threw down a challenge to the county Republican party that had withdrawn its support from his campaign.

Chapman, the county's highest-ranking elected official with an R appended to his name, briefly thought of running as an independent candidate.

He decided to maintain his party affiliation after the U.S. Supreme Court reinstated Washington's top-two primary election system last month.

That scheme allows voters to cross party lines and vote for candidates regardless of political party. The top two vote-getters proceed to the general election.

Assuming Chapman retains the broad support he has enjoyed in his previous two campaigns — he had no opponent in 2004 —he could face an independent or minor-party candidate, a Democrat or another Republican.

Chapman's maverick ways
Courthouse observers have noted no independent or minor-party interest in the race.

Republican stalwarts said to be considering running include former Undersheriff Fred DeFrang and Terry Roth, who manages the Northwest Duty Free shop in The Landing mall.

Attorney David R. Fox also has expressed interest in running as a Democrat.

Chapman's maverick ways with the county GOP began when he declined to endorse Sue Forde in her run against County Commissioner Steve Tharinger, D-Dungeness, in 2003.

Last year he endorsed Tharinger outright in Tharinger's race against Bob Forde, Sue Forde's husband.

Sue Forde presently is chairwoman of the Clallam County Republican Party.

In a letter dated Feb. 19, county GOP Vice Chairman David Cummins informed Chapman he had violated party bylaws, for which:

  • He is barred from party meetings, caucuses, conventions and fund-raisers.

  • He cannot receive the county party's help with campaign signs, sign locations, canvassing or polling.

  • He cannot use the party's mailing list or its bulk-mailing permit.

    Election oddities
    Chapman's endorsement of Tharinger was one of a series of related oddities in the 2007 election.

    Walt Schubert, then mayor of Sequim, had been expected to be Tharinger's Republican opponent, but Schubert declined to run, saying he wanted to fulfill commitments he had made as mayor.

    That briefly left Tharinger with no opponent while Republicans were given another week to field a candidate. They chose Bob Forde.

    The Sequim City Council elections, meanwhile, produced a majority of council members aligned against Schubert, and they chose Laura Dubois for mayor.

    Last modified: April 01. 2008 9:00PM



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