VASHON ISLAND — If ever there were an election in which money talks, this is it.
According to The Washington Post, the better-funded candidate wins more than 90% of the time, at least in U.S. House campaigns.
But in this race to be mayor of Vashon Island, it’s 100% of the time.
To win the title of honorary mayor, it’s $1 per vote.
The money goes to each candidate’s favorite Island-based charity.
And the slate of competitors is diverse, appealing to all segments of the population — old and young, four-legged and two-legged.
Sid Yarkin has the best grassroots campaign.
The 4-month-old Jacob sheep believes in “eating locally and community service,” says Joe Yarkin of Sun Island Farm. “Sid’s best skills are fertilizer distribution and weed reduction.”
Raising money for Vashon Youth & Family Services, he’s receiving campaign strategies from flock-mate Noodle, who ran in 2016, and Madeline Yarkin, 14, who adopted him.
Sid faces a strong challenge from Barbara Steen, 91, a lifelong islander.
She’s representing the Vashon Heritage Museum, which she helped found. Her platform is “everyone has a story that needs to be told and that the Heritage Museum needs our support to record and give voice to those stories so that they will never be forgotten.”
The other four-legged candidate is Fleur Runyan. She’s a rescue from Vashon Island Pet Protectors, known as VIPP.
Her platform is “when we work together we can change lives.” She’s a schnauzer “plus who knows?” Fleur supports the organization that helped save her.
Then there are the four Vashon Sisters, who aren’t really sisters, but symbolic siblings. Lucca Hansen, Raena Joyce, Maarten Ribalet-Coesel and Selene Dalinis want to empower youth and are representing Vashon Sisterhood.
Ten-year-old Lucca says, “I love Sisterhood because I can be myself and talk with other girls about anything.”
Steen feels they’re the likely front-runners at this point.
Voting is online, and money raised by each candidate for their 501c3 charity still goes to that organization regardless of election results. The honorary mayor will be invited to participate in events throughout the year, but participation is completely optional.
The vote tally and winner will be named by the Vashon Chamber of Commerce on Sunday, July 19.