Alabama “Bama” Nightmare is on the ballot for the Democratic Precinct Committee Officer in Everett’s Precinct 46. PCO races are only listed on the ballots in their precinct in contested races. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

Alabama “Bama” Nightmare is on the ballot for the Democratic Precinct Committee Officer in Everett’s Precinct 46. PCO races are only listed on the ballots in their precinct in contested races. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

In this electoral corner, it’s Alabama “’Bama” Nightmare vs. Jack Lockhart

Precinct Committee Officers are grassroots party races at the bottom of the ballot, maybe. The storylines are no less interesting.

EVERETT — It’s the first time on a ballot for Alabama “’Bama” Nightmare, but her fourth time as a candidate.

She’s running for the Democratic PCO in Everett’s Precinct 46.

What’s up with that?

Precinct Committee Officer, or PCO for short, can take as much explaining as her name.

PCOs don’t get the glory or scrutiny of other political candidates. It’s about as grassroots as you can get and still be on your party’s front lines.

“It’s an undervalued and underutilized position in the whole process,” Nightmare said.

She faces incumbent Jack Lockhart.

“A PCO is low-level, but it’s a starter level in a democracy,” said Lockhart, who has held the post for three terms. “It’s your first elected position in the democracy chain.”

PCO is a bottom-of-the-ballot partisan race in even-year primary elections only. In Snohomish County, it draws maybe 100 to 200 votes by party in a precinct. Each precinct selects both a Democratic and Republican PCO, but voters choose only one party.

You won’t see Alabama “’Bama” Nightmare and Jack Lockhart on your ballot unless you live in Precinct 46. Chances are, you won’t even see a PCO voting option on your ballot. Countywide, there are less than 30 PCO races in the 2022 primary. Many slots are either vacant or unopposed. An unopposed PCO candidate automatically gets the post and isn’t listed on the ballot.

It is Lockhart’s first time on the ballot too. No one ran against him in his three prior terms. Same with Nightmare in her prior stints elsewhere.

There is no cost to file for PCO and the post is unpaid. Duties include voter outreach, canvassing, recruitment, serving on committees and voting on endorsements. PCOs elect party leadership, help fill vacancies in elected offices and lead their precinct caucus every two years.

“We’re the ones who kind of start initiatives for the political party that go onward toward the platform,” Lockhart said. “You get involved and learn a lot. You can make what you want of it.”

Some of the PCO names on your ballot might be familiar. Public officials can also be PCOs.

Connie Allison, 50, elected to the Mill Creek City Council in 2021, is on the ballot for Republican PCO of the city’s Precinct 10, a post she holds now.

Contender Lenny Chacon, 33, who campaigned for her when she ran for City Council, said it’s a friendly rivalry.

“If she wins, I’m happy. If I win, I’ll be happy,” he said. “I didn’t even know what a PCO was until I started getting involved with the party a little bit over two years ago.”

Husband-and-wife Marylou and Mike Eckart both are running for the same Democratic spot in Lynnwood’s Precinct 13.

Wait, why both?

So they get their names on the ballot and name recognition.

“That helps the community know who we are,” she said.

In the 2020 primary, she got 95 votes, 71.97%. He got 37 votes, or 28.03% .

She said the landslide was based on gender, not a popularity contest between her and Mike.

“I think everybody’s supporting women, because they are tired of what the guys are doing,” she said. He was a PCO for over 20 years.

Simone Tarver, 32, the two-term Democratic PCO for Everett’s Precinct 12, said she is following in the footsteps of her dad, Jason Tarver, a former PCO.

“I like having the opportunity to be part of the decision-making process for the 38th Legislative District Democrats and Snohomish County Democrats, and particularly like being able to participate in their respective endorsement processes,” she said.

She faces first-time candidate Shola Bolonduro, 28.

“People were telling me a lot of these PCO positions often don’t have anyone running,” Bolonduro said. “You can be a part of the change that happens in your community especially. That was right up my alley. Make this area better for folks, especially the marginalized.”

Lockhart, 56, a grants manager at the University of Washington, is a longtime resident of the precinct in the Evergreen neighborhood and a party treasurer.

If he loses to Nightmare, so be it.

“It’s a two-year position,” he said. “If I don’t win I can always look at it again in two years.”

Nightmare, 49, an artist who has dealt with housing insecurity, gave up prior PCO posts due to moving out of the precincts.

“I got involved during the Bernie campaign in 2016. That inspired me to take a seat at the table,” she said.

She legally changed her name in 2008 for personal, not political, purposes.

Her name comes from “Nightmare before Christmas” and Patricia Arquette’s character Alabama Whitman in Quentin Tarantino’s “True Romance.”

She said she had a “plain name” before.

Reporter Jerry Cornfield contributed to this story.

Andrea Brown: 425-339-3443;; Twitter: @reporterbrown.

Talk to us

More in Local News

Clyde Shavers, left, and Greg Gilday.
Shavers wins by narrow margin as Dems flip seat in 10th District

Democrat Clyde Shavers won by 211 votes against incumbent state Rep. Greg Gilday. It’s close enough for a recount.

Edmonds man hospitalized after shooting in Arlington

The man, 30, was found Monday night in the 500 block of N. Macleod Avenue after reports of an assault.

Snow lingered outside the office building of Receivables Performance Management on Thursday, Dec. 1, 2022, in Lynnwood, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Lynnwood data breach exposed sensitive info for 3.7 million across US

Lawsuits allege lax security at a debt collection agency led to the attack. It wasn’t announced for over a year.

The Washington State Patrol was investigating a fatal crash involving multiple vehicles Thursday on Highway 530 near Oso. (Washington State Patrol)
Fatal crash closes Highway 530 near Oso

There was no detour Thursday afternoon as detectives investigated the crash.

Teen killed in Everett crash, shooting identified

No arrests have been made in the Friday night killing of 17-year-old Gabriel Kartak, of Seattle.

The crab doughnut at Market in Edmonds is a strange delight, with a sweet and dense glazed doughnut topped with bright and briny dungeness crab salad, nutty browned butter and a shower of smoky bacon bits. (Taylor Goebel / The Herald)
This idyllic dining destination is right in Snohomish County

Edmonds boasts fresh seafood, Caribbean-inspired sandwiches, artisan breads, cocktails and more.

Marysville Jail (City of Marysville)
Man with hepatitis C accused of spitting on Marysville jail staff

Hepatitis C is usually spread through blood. The suspect, 28, faces allegations of exposing the officers to a contagious disease.

NO CAPTION. Logo to accompany news of Washington state.
Medicare open enrollment ends Dec. 7

Find information and resources to help make the best choice for you.

Sunlight illuminates a framed photograph of Mila and Wilfrido Sarmiento while their daughter Rowella Sarmiento cries reading her statement to the court during Caleb Wride’s sentencing on Monday, Nov. 28, 2022 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
At sentencing, family mourns parents killed in fatal DUI crash

Caleb Wride, 23, of Everett, was sentenced Monday for the head-on crash that killed Mila and Wilfrido Sarmiento.

Most Read