Island Co. Commission candidate’s ‘evil woman’ comment telling

Last month, Rick Hannold, running for Island County Commissioner, made news on Whidbey and Camano islands with some appalling misogynistic remarks he made in a public forum. First, he literally said that what the county commission needs is to elect a man instead of re-electing a woman, Commissioner Janet St. Clair. Then he went on to call his opponent, St. Clair, an “evil woman.” His comments caused something of a community uproar, not unexpected given that it is 2022 and that all three members of the Island County Board of Commissioners are women. Ultimately, he issued a statement apologizing for referring to Commissioner St Clair as “evil,” but never apologized to her personally.

This might be old, hyper-local news. Except that, this week, one of the state’s most well known Republican leaders, former Washington State Attorney General, Rob McKenna, issued a full-throated endorsement of Hannold. According to McKenna’s statement, Hannold is “exceptionally well qualified” and has “the right values,” bolstering his endorsement by noting he’d thoroughly researched Hannold’s record.

McKenna endorsed Hannold knowing full well that Hannold’s derogatory and uncivil comments about women were on the record. Apparently, McKenna is also good with Hannold’s long record of denying climate science and his ongoing opposition to Island County’s climate action plan.

So this is where Republican leaders are today: embracing candidates with well known anti-women and anti-science positions. Certainly this is important to Island County voters; but no less relevant beyond Whidbey and Camano Islands.

Kim Drury


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