MONTESANO — County Commissioner Frank Gordon is fully engaged in a campaign to try to make sure Vickie Raines doesn’t make it past the primary election in her bid for a seat on the county commission.
Gordon says he’s thrown his support to two of Raines’ rivals in an effort to see if he can ensure she loses in the primary election and, therefore, doesn’t make it to the countywide ballot.
It’s a move that’s raised a few eyebrows because, typically, sitting county commissioners have not taken such aggressive stands against candidates for public office, especially for a candidate that they’re not even running against.
“It’s like I’m the fifth candidate in this here campaign doing everything in my power to make sure Vickie loses,” Gordon said.
Gordon says he favors Democrat Al Smith and Independent Jim Heikel for the District 3 commission seat being vacated by Herb Welch, who chose not to run for re-election. There’s also Republican Keith Olson and Raines, who states no party preference, on the ballot. The top two candidates move on to the General Election, regardless of party affiliation.
Gordon has waved signs, knocked on doors, talked to business owners and recently bought some newspaper advertisements to make sure everyone knows that Raines is his last choice for public office. He parks his truck, loaded up with signs for Smith, right across the street from where voters drop off their ballots at the county Courthouse. At his business in Aberdeen, he also has a reader board urging people to vote for anybody else other than Raines.
County Auditor Vern Spatz notes that Gordon’s move parking his truck with signs is allowed because it is less than 35 feet away from the Auditor’s Office. The old law had it at 300 feet, but that was when the office was an actual polling place. Now, everything is vote by mail.
“It’s about teamwork,” Gordon said. “We have a good team here at the county and Vickie is a dictator who takes control. … She does not have the temperament. And we don’t need that here. There are very valuable people here who will quit if she wins. … I won’t knock her for being a smart person or say she doesn’t have the skills to be in government, but this county post has so many elected officials we have no power over.”
Raines notes she’s been mayor of Cosmopolis for 12 years and on the city council for three years before that. She also chairs the group of the Harbor’s mayors, who meets regularly. As chairwoman of the Chehalis Basin Flood Authority, she says she has overseen jurisdictions with opposing viewpoints and brought people together in support of finding basinwide flooding solutions. As a result, she’s made fans across both sides of the aisle.
“I feel it is very unfortunate that a sitting commissioner, who I’m not even running against, would go out of his way to perpetuate lies and falsehoods,” Raines said. “… Given the opportunity, I will work with Commissioner Gordon (as) I would work with anyone else. I encourage people to do their homework. I’m very much a team player.”
Asked about the real potential of Raines winning the office, Gordon says he imagines their arguments will escalate, “I guess King 5 will start showing up at our meetings.”