Bart Hansen, player

An article I did yesterday about a voter’s guide put out by the Republicans on nonpartisan races is generating a good conversation.

But it generated a whole set of twists and turns that I didn’t have the time or space to get into.

Mainly, when I contacted Vancouver City Council candidate Josephine Wentzel to talk about what she thought of her R+ (strong Republican) grade from the party, she said the whole report card was necessitated by her opponent, Councilor Bart Hansen, who got a C grade, for conflicting information.

“It’s my opinion that the Republicans came up with a report card only because questions arose after Bart Hansen’s recent claim to be a ‘Don Carlson Republican,’ otherwise known as a republican in name only,” Wentzel wrote in an email.

She went on to say that Hansen convinced Republican Party Chairman Brandon Vick he was a Republican so that they would advertise a fundraiser. At the same time, he appeared in a Democratic newsletter, with word saying he had been active in that party.

While the local Democrats don’t endorse nonpartisan candidates (neither do the Republicans), a July 2011 newsletter did bother to mention who is involved with the party, which it often does:

“One contest of more than passing interest to Democrats is Position 4 on the Vancouver City Council. Bart Hanson (sic), who was appointed to the seat after it was vacated by the election of Mayor Tim Leavitt, has been active in the Democratic Party. He is opposed for re-election by Josephine Wentzel.”

“I believe that Mr. Hansen’s attempt to ‘play both parties’ caused this race to appear partisan,” Wentzel wrote. “The question of ‘partisan’ should have been back in July, 2011 when the Democrats publicly endorsed him not months later when the Republicans were forced to put up a ‘report card.'”

Democratic Party Chair Kathy Lawrence was quick to say that her newsletter’s mentioning of Hansen and others’ activity on the liberal side of things was in no means an endorsement. Vick had also said that his party’s voter’s guide was also not meant as endorsements.

“I think that any candidate wants to get as many people to vote for him as possible no matter what their label might be,” Lawrence said. “If I’m a Democrat, I certainly want as many Republicans, Independents and Democrats as possible to vote for me.”

Wentzel said it isn’t bad to ask for a broad range of support.

“It’s not bad when you aren’t trying to deceive people,” she said. “Deception is never a good thing regardless!”

Vick said that the decision to give Hansen a “C” came after much deliberation, but he did not say he felt that Hansen attempted to trick the board.

“Some wanted D, some wanted C, some wanted R,” Vick said Tuesday. “There was definitely conflict, but it wasn’t the only race where we had to make a difficult choice.”

Hansen said that he’s gotten support from the Democrats, Republican and Libertarian parties all along.

“I’m sorry Mrs. Wentzel is trying to make a non-partisan race partisan because it’s not,” he said. “She can make up a story and claim I belong to any of these parties because of this support. That doesn’t make it true. I am a non-partisan council member and I don’t mind if they support a particular party or are independent, I welcome their support.”

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