Whatcom County voters elect anti-coal council

BELLINGHAM -- Voters in Whatcom County appeared to issue an edict on coal trains in Tuesday's election, voting in all four county-council candidates who opposed the proposal to build a coal export facility near Bellingham.

All four anti-coal terminal council members were leading their opponents as votes came in Tuesday night, including two challengers who looked to topple two pro-coal terminal incumbents. T

he council is currently favorable to the facility that could bring jobs to the area. But, a shift toward more progressive council members would swing the vote.  Progressive-leaning council members include incumbent Ken Mann and Carl Weimer, and challengers Rud Browne and Barry Buchanan. All opposed a proposed coal terminal at Cherry Point.

Incumbents Ben Elenbaas and Michelle Luke, both considered conservative leaning, were trailing by nearly double digits Tuesday night.

Political Action Committees on both sides of the coal-terminal debate donated heavily to the county council races.

More than 41,000 people voted in the county election; big numbers for an off-year election.