School board candidate not allowed to take position

June signature with PDC prevents campaigning, contributions

After signing an intent to suspend her campaign in June with the Public Disclosure Commission, Kristi Schmeck — a candidate for a Sequim School board at-large position — must not accept the position if she wins in the general election, PDC agency staff said last week.

Schmeck attempted to withdraw her candidacy after filing week in mid-May, but because she missed the May 24 deadline to officially withdraw Schmeck automatically moved onto the General Election, Clallam County Elections Office officials said.

As the top vote-getter in the Aug. 3 primary, Schmeck received 3,057 votes, or 28.85 percent of votes between portions of Clallam and Jefferson counties in the Sequim School District without campaigning.

She moved onto the Nov. 2 General Election with Virginia Sheppard, who tallied 3,029 votes (28.58 percent) ahead of Rachel Tax with 2,842 (26.82 percent) and Derek Huntington with 1,651 votes (15.58 percent).

Schmeck told the Gazette in an Aug. 18 email that she withdrew for personal reasons, but after speaking with Elections staff and seeing the primary results, she changed her mind and said, “I will be campaigning from this day forward.”

However, PDC staff report that Schmeck signed/submitted a “Statement of Termination of Campaign for Public Disclosure Commission” on June 4.

It states she will not campaign for her election, solicit or accept campaign contributions, and not make campaign expenditures, including from personal funds.

Kim Bradford with the PDC said via email that candidates who file formal statements of termination with the PDC after candidate filing week agree not to campaign for election, solicit or accept campaign contributions, make campaign expenditures, and not accept the office if elected.

The PDC’s Statement of Termination adds that Schmeck must withdraw through the “appropriate elections office, and not with the Public Disclosure Commission (PDC).”

On Sept. 20, Schmeck wrote via email, “The PDC is correct and I am not participating in the election.”

Bradford said if Schmeck wins, she must contact the Sequim School District and tell them of her intent not to accept the position. If that happens, the Sequim School District’s board of directors would appoint someone, Clallam County Auditor Shoona Riggs said in a previous interview.

According to Bradford, if Schmeck accepts the position or violates any of those provisions, she would “be subject to PDC enforcement action for not filing required reports (under RCW 42.17A).

“How many reports they would have been required to file depends largely on the size of the campaign they ran,” she said. “At the least, candidates in jurisdictions the size of Sequim School District are required to file a candidate registration and a personal financial affairs disclosure. Candidates who plan to raise and spend $5,000 or less can register with us under ‘mini reporting’ which relieves them of having to file contribution and expenditure reports.”

According to the PDC’s website, Schmeck discontinued her campaign.

On Sept. 10, she participated in a candidate forum for the Sequim Sunrise Rotary, as published on the club’s website and confirmed by club members.

On Sept. 24, Sheppard confirmed their participation in the forum saying, “Following the primary, I have met with Kristi in person and participated in a Rotary forum with her. I have the utmost of respect for Ms. Schmeck as a candidate and as a person. I thank her for her participation in the electoral process and wish her well on all her future endeavors.”

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