Hank Klein has dropped out of the Position 4 race for Sammamish City Council, but too late to pull is name off the ballot.
“I have decided to drop out of the race for City Council because of personal reasons,” Klein wrote Sammamish Comment today after I left a voice mail for Klein seeking his website address. Through yesterday, no website had been created.
Also through yesterday, Klein hadn’t raised any money or made any filings with the Public Disclosure Commission beyond his initial filing required when he announced his candidacy.
Klein opposes incumbent Ramiro Valderrama, who is seeking reelection.
Klein’s decision to drop out is a blow to the ruling majority on the council, the so-called Gang of 4, some of whom were widely reported to have recruited Klein to run against Valderrama. Klein never commented on who recruited him to run. He had initially declined to run for any position.
The Gang of 4 is comprised of Mayor Tom Vance, Deputy Mayor Kathy Huckabay, and council members Tom Odell and Bob Keller. Vance is running for reelection. He has been endorsed by the other three members of the Gang, and by Klein.
The leaders Gang of 4 wants to see Valderrama defeated because he’s a pain in their ass and routinely challenges their leadership and policies. Valderrama virtually single-handedly forced the City to take an active role in overseeing King County’s development of the East Lake Sammamish Trail; and has been the Council’s leading proponent of giving citizens the right of Initiative and Referendum, something thee of the four Gang members oppose. Keller has said he will vote to honor the Advisory Vote of April 28 in which 55% of the voters supported the I&R. None of the other three-strong opponents of the I&R–have said if they will honor the vote, and Huckabay on June 15 made remarks at the city council meeting denigrating the outcome and said that the council hadn’t pledged to honor the vote.
A resolution proceeding with adopting an ordinance for the I&R is on the council agenda tonight.
With Klein’s decision to drop out, Valderrama should have an easy ride to reelection. He was prepared to be the target of a highly personal campaign against him. A Redmond resident, believed to be a front for one of Valderrama’s council opponents, had filed a Public Records Request for all of Valderrama’s 2014 city-related emails in what was widely viewed as a fishing expedition to find “dirt” on Valderrama.
Klein has not responded for additional comment.