Leaving a Monday night meeting of 27th Legislative District Democrats, supporters of Laurie Jinkins’ state House campaign thought she had won an endorsement.
Turns out it wasn’t so clear-cut. The local party compared the votes to the meeting’s sign-in sheet and turned up some irregularities.
“We had some votes cast by people who were not members, and we had more votes cast than the number of people that signed in,” vice-chair David Schroedel said.
So, was this mischief or honest errors? The party’s trying to sort that out, Schroedel said, along with how many votes were ineligible. It was more than four, and therefore enough to raise questions about the outcome of close votes for endorsements in the House race plus a district court race.
By a margin of just two votes, the local party had given a dual endorsement to Jinkins and Jake Fey for the seat representing most of Tacoma. That would be a boost for Jinkins because the party had endorsed Fey in March, and adding his opponent would dilute the endorsement.
The local party contacted the campaigns asking them to hold off in trumpeting their endorsements, but Jinkins’ campaign fired off an 11 a.m. Tuesday release announcing the vote, without making mention of the voter irregularities.
News of it appeared briefly on this blog before we pulled it down after hearing about the questionable voting.
Fey and Jinkins are running for the seat vacated by Rep. Dennis Flannigan‘s departure. Democrats Janis Gbalah and Jessica Smeall are also running, along with independent Ken Nichols.
Ken Miller with the Jinkins campaign said he didn’t know about the voting irregularities when he sent out the news release at 11 a.m. Tuesday. (He flagged the problem to me when I called him about the endorsement that afternoon.)
Someone in the campaign knew by 9:30 a.m., Schroedel said. That’s when he received an e-mail from the campaign that referred to the problem.
“We sent this out believing we had the endorsement,” Miller said.