Whitten won’t run for reelection

Nancy Whitten

Nancy Whitten said today (May 6) she won’t run for reelection.

Whitten has been on the Sammamish City Council since 2003. She ran in 2001 but lost by a very narrow margin.

Whitten has been a thorn in the side of what she viewed as the power structure of successive City Council. She’s been vocal about what she perceived to be “rigged” votes for leadership and committee assignments. She’s been a particular thorn in the side of the current Council power structure that’s become known as the Gang of 4, consisting of Mayor Tom Vance, Deputy Mayor Kathy Huckabay, Tom Odell and Bob Keller, whom she often accused of colluding to agree on votes in advance of Council meetings. Several members of this group are known to have been attempting to recruit a candidate to run against her this year.

But for all her prickliness, Whitten has been a staunch protector of the environment.

Whitten lives on Pine Lake, one of the most environmentally sensitive lakes in the County, for which protections are higher than for many other lakes. Whitten ran for reelection in 2011, when she had considered stepping down after two terms, because she was concerned about the environmental record of then-planning commissioner Kathy Richardson, who lost to Whitten.

Whitten is critical of the current Comprehensive Plan revisions, including environmental issues, proposed by the Planning Commission, but after 12 years on the Council fighting often lonely battles and being ostracized by fellow Council members and even the City staff, Whitten is tired. She considered running again this year and weighed switching seats to challenge Vance for election because she was so opposed to his leadership and his tactics as Mayor.

In the end, Whitten decided to step down after three terms.

Planning Commission Frank Blau is widely rumored to be preparing to file for election for Whitten’s seat. Christie Malchow, who declared her candidacy earlier, hasn’t announced which seat she will seek. Malchow was waiting to see what Vance and Whitten would do. Vance announced his reelection on Friday.

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