This is the First of a series of articles analyzing the results of the 2018 election in Whatcom County.


All three Republican Candidates received less than 50% in their Primaries on August 7th.

The year of the Blue Wave came and went in Northern Whatcom County and in 2 out of 3 cases the GOP held on to their seats in a squeaker of an election that ended in a 4 day hand recount for two legislative races. The recount was finished on December 6th a full month after the polls closed.

Senator Doug Ericksen

Council Woman Pinky Vargas

The result: After coming in at 46% in the August 7th Primary Sen. Doug Ericksen held on to his seat for another four years by 45 votes in a close victory against Bellingham City Councilwoman Pinky Vargas.





Justin Boneau

Rep. Luanne Van Werven takes on another two years in Olympia by 80 votes getting a victory against Justin Boneau. This was after a Boneau Primary victory that saw VanWerven garner only 44% of the Vote.




Sharon Shewmake

Rep Vincent Buys

But local Republicans lost Rep Vincent Buys in a last minute flurry of negative advertising by the Democrats and their surrogates. Democrat Sharon Shewmake a professor at WWU will be replacing Buys in Olympia in January.


Only a 7% chance of winning…

Republicans lost their Primaries on August 7th 2018…In the Top Two Primary System this normally means (93% of the time) that Primary losers will be General Election Losers.

Caleb Heimlich Chairman Washington State Republican Party

Caleb Heimlich Chairman of the Washington State Republican Party stated that   “Only 7% of those candidates in the top two primary system that lose  the primary are able to come back and win in the general election,” Heimlich said.

Two candidates: Sen Doug Ericksen and Rep Luanne VanWerven bucked the 93% of those that lose; here in Whatcom County and both won.  The Fourth Corner could not find  in Washington State where 2 candidates in the same legislative district overcame a Primary defeat in the same election and won.

The three tables below tell the story by the numbers:

The first gives the Primary Results on August 7th.

The second gives the General Election Results for November 6th.

The third gives the difference between the the primary and the general showing how all three GOP candidates picked up Votes in the General Instead of losing votes.

This table shows the vote by Candidate in the Primary election August 7th 2018.

Note the Primary Voter Percentage for each Republican candidate on the top line.

Senate Votes %

Rep Pos 1

Votes % Rep Pos 2 Votes %
Ericksen 19177 45.85% Vanwerven 18440 44.29% Buys 19837 47.72%
Vargas 12067 Boneau 21125 Shewmake 21733
Bellew 10578 Berkeley 2070
Total Vote 41822 41635 41570


This table shows the vote by Candidate in the General election November 6th 2018.

Note the General Voter Percentage for each Republican candidate on the top line.

Senate Votes % Rep Pos 1 Votes % Rep Pos 2 Votes %
Ericksen 36341 50.03% Vanwerven 36242 50.06% Buys 35723 49.32%
Vargas 36295 Boneau 36162 Shewmake 36704
 Total Vote 72636 72404 72427


Finally this table shows the Net Increase by Republicans over Democrats from the Aug 7th vote to the Nov 6th Elections.

Note the Voter Percentage difference for each Republican candidate on the top line.

Ericksen Increase 17164 4.18% Vanwerven Increase
17802 5.77%       Buys    Increase 15886 1.60%
Vargas Increase 13650 Boneaou Increase 12967 Shewmake Increase 14971
Net Increase Republican 3514 Net Increase Republican 4835 Net Increase Republican

Check out the above tables tracking the story from Primary to General Here.