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Whatcom Republicans submit three names to replace state Sen. Doug Ericksen

Doug Ericksen wears a gray blazer and white button-down shirt and blue tie. He sits at a desk with news microphones in front of him.
Ted S. Warren
The Associated Press file
Washington Sen. Doug Ericksen, R-Ferndale, talks to reporters on Feb. 2, 2017 at the Capitol in Olympia. Ericksen died Dec. 17, 2021, after saying in November that he tested positive for COVID-19. He was 52.

UPDATE, 4:30 p.m. Jan. 4: The Whatcom County Council voted Tuesday to delay naming a replacement for state Sen. Doug Ericksen, R-Ferndale, until its Jan. 11 meeting. Some council members said they have more questions for the three candidates and didn't feel like they had enough information to make a decision.

Initial story: The Whatcom County Republican Party has put forward three nominees to finish the term of state Sen. Doug Ericksen, who died Dec. 17, weeks after being diagnosed with COVID-19 while on a trip to El Salvador.

Members of the Whatcom County Council will choose between Ben Elenbaas, Tawsha Dykstra Thompson and Simon Sefzik at their meeting Tuesday afternoon.

The party said all three are “highly qualified … solid conservatives" who could carry Ericksen’s legacy forward in Olympia.

Elenbaas is a farmer and oil refinery worker who serves on the Whatcom County Council. Dykstra Thompson is a former Bellingham Police Department sergeant. Sefzik is a community organizer who worked as a White House staffer during the Trump administration.

“Even in our deep sorrow and grief we believe that Doug would have wanted us to work quickly to find a solid conservative Republican to carry on his legacy in Olympia,” said Whatcom Republican Chair John Ramsey.

The aim is for Ericksen’s successor in the 42nd District to be sworn in when the 2022 legislative session begins on Jan. 10.

The special proceedings of the Whatcom County Council will begin at 1 p.m. Tuesday and can be watched via Zoom. The meeting agenda and Zoom link can be found here.

Bellamy Pailthorp covers the environment beat for KNKX, where she has worked since 1999. From 2000-2012, she covered the business and labor beat. Bellamy has a deep interest in Indigenous affairs and the Salish Sea. She has a masters in journalism from Columbia University.
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