Would you vote for a dog? Local pooch running for prosecutor

BELLINGHAM, Wash. -- The fur is expected to fly -- literally -- in the primary election for Whatcom County Prosecutor.

David McEachran is running unopposed for an 11th term as the county's prosecutor, but he may have a bone to pick with a four-legged upstart challenger that's gaining momentum as a write-in candidate.

Nyima is a mut with great character, says his owner, Frank James of Bellingham.

"He's charming, he is honest, he has a lot of the character and features we'd like to see in politicians, " said James.

With tongue in cheek, James has put out the word that he'd like to see Nyima as a write-in candidate to oppose McEachran in the August 5 primary. It's for fun, but also to make a point, according to James.

"Our current prosecuting attorney has had no opposition in 10 terms, and it's time for other people to think about running," he said.

The public health and family doctor is active in social causes throughout Whatcom County, including the opposition to the proposed coal terminal at Cherry Point.

He believes the strongest way to hold public officials accountable is for people to run against them.

"Nyima's not going to win the election, and people are taking this write-in challenge too seriously, but people need to be encouraged to run for office and maybe this could do it," said James.

Nyima's first endorsement came from political blogger Riley Sweeny, who shares James' viewpoint.

"Elections are a chance for voters to conduct a job review," said Sweeny. "If there's no candidate, we don't get to look at the issues the county prosecutor's office deals with and we don't get to assess if he's been doing a good job or not."

Dealing with "frivolous" write-in candidates is waste, says Whatcom County Auditor Debbie Adelstein.

"Anything that slows down the process is time, and that's money and that's cost to the tax payers," said Adelstein, who said she understands the point James is trying to make.

She said write-in candidates -- real or fake -- must be separated and won't be included in the final totals unless the race is very close. Only then will her election workers examine the names on the ballot and verify if they are registered voters.

Ironically, Adelstein sees Nyima's challenge as a way to get another point across to state lawmakers.

Over the last two sessions, county auditors have been pushing the legislature in Olympia to pass a measure to require write-in candidates to register 18 days before an election as way to cut down on what Adelstein calls unnecessary work of verify the legitimacy of a write-in candidate.

"It just hasn't gotten any traction yet, but maybe a candidate such as this will point out to them, what occurs for the counties that have to account that," said Adelstein.

James said he and Nyima don't have a bone to pick with McEachran. The 10-term prosecutor said he didn't have time to speak on camera about his furry challenger because he was busy preparing for a case.