John Rosentangle leads in the race for King County Water District No. 54 even though he died earlier this year. (King County Elections image)

Dead candidates lead two western Washington races

Two candidates in western Washington appear headed to victory even though they won't be able to take office. That's because they're dead.

In Des Moines, John Rosentangle leads in the race for Commissioner 2 with King County Water District Number 54. But the 63-year old died Aug. 12.

King County election officials say it was too late to remove his name from the ballot and voters guide.

"We follow very strict procedures and there are deadlines for filing and deadlines for the things that go in voters guides and so forth. And this just happened to be one of those cases," says Kim van Ekstrom, communications manager for King County Elections.

Several others jumped into the race and ran as write-in candidates, but clearly the word didn't get out to voters.

The first round of results show Rosentangle leading two other candidates by a 318 to 129 margin.

If Rosentangle is declared the winner, the other Water District members are charged with appointing a qualified successor.

"And if they do not do it within 90 days then the responsibility falls on the County Council," van Ekstrom says.

Voters in Aberdeen could re-elect a dead candidate as well.

Former state representative John Erak leads in the race for his city council seat even though he died in June.

Erak leads challenger Alan Richrod 98 to 86 in early returns, the Daily World reports.

The law required the city to keep Erak's name on the ballot since he died after the official date.

Whether voters were honoring him or didn't realize he was dead is unknown.

If Erak wins, the council will vote for another candidate to take his seat.

Josh Kerns,
Josh Kerns is an award winning reporter/anchor and host of KIRO Radio's Seattle Sounds (Sunday afternoons 5-6p) and a digital content producer for
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