Disillusioned by his brief, stormy stint in politics, Green Party candidate Michael Jepson said yesterday he's shelving his Republican-aided bid for the King County Council.
But as in a divorce, apparently only a judge may terminate the unhappy, and possibly fraudulent, candidacy of the 21-year- old nominee in South King County's Council District 13.
State and local leaders of the Green Party said they intend to go to court to have Jepson's name removed from the ballot. The reasons, they said, are that he wasn't the party's choice and he was nominated illegally, after the July 7 statutory deadline for minor parties to choose nominees for the fall elections.
Young Han, Green Party House candidate, waves the check he's returning to a Republican. (Gilbert W. Arias/Seattle Post-Intelligencer)
"We know now that Michael Jepson is not now and has never been a Green Party candidate," declared Kara Ceriello, the party's state chairwoman, at a news conference yesterday.
Jepson, who lives with his parents in Des Moines, wasn't invited. He said afterward, "I'm not putting any effort forth (on the County Council campaign). If the Greens try to remove me, that is their prerogative."
Ceriello reiterated the Greens' belief that two of their local nominating conventions, in SeaTac and in Lynnwood July 7, were manipulated by a veteran Republican political consultant, Stan Shore, and his wife, Leslie Donovan. The two paid for legal notices, meeting rooms and snack food for the conventions and gave money to both Green Party nominees.
The apparent motive, Greens and Democrats charge, was to put Greens on the ballot to peel votes away from Democrats in two pivotal races. One could determine party control of the evenly split state House of Representatives, and the other could change party control of the County Council, now 7-6 Republican.
Shore gave $250 to the campaign of the Greens' 21st District House candidate, Young Han, 18, of Mountlake Terrace, and Donovan gave $1,000 to Jepson's campaign. Han said yesterday he's returning the $250.
Shore and Donovan denied that their motive was to secretly help Republicans.
But Shore is the political consultant for state Sen. Pam Roach, R-Auburn, who is running for County Council, and he was paid by the state Republican Party to do research on the candidates for the House seat held by appointed Rep. Joe Marine, R-Mukilteo.
Some Green Party activists were suspicious when they showed up for the conventions, especially the County Council nominating convention at the 13 Coins restaurant at SeaTac, where several of the delegates were later found out to be Republican Party precinct committee officers.
A roomful of non-Green people were smoking cigarettes and drinking cocktails at mid-morning and snacking on cheese, salami and other cold meats, said Michael Kovacs, who turned down Donovan's effort to recruit him as a candidate.
"At Green gatherings, usually it's like hummus and tortilla chips and organic stuff and carrots," Han said.
The Greens held a news conference in front of King County Republican Party headquarters on Lower Queen Anne yesterday to protest what they believe was GOP manipulation of their conventions.
Although both Green conventions were held July 7, the nominating deadline, Donovan didn't recruit Jepson to run for the County Council until July 11 after two other Greens turned her down. Jepson said that was the first time he had heard from Donovan.
Unlike Han, Jepson had never been active in the Green Party before, although party leaders said yesterday that he seems genuinely to believe in Green principles.
Despite the tardy selection of Jepson, nomination papers filed by Donovan with the county made it appear that he was chosen at the convention July 7.
Records and Elections Manager Bob Bruce said he has no legal authority to question the petition.
"If somebody can prove that (Jepson was chosen after July 7) in a court of law, then they would have a fraudulent nominating certificate because everything on it was sworn to that it was accomplished and completed on July 7," Bruce said.
If it can be proven that Jepson was nominated after July 7, "that would invalidate the nomination."
Jepson said: "I would warn anyone before they go into politics: Do a lot of research on who's bringing you in, who's backing you and who your true friends are. Because in politics I don't think there is such a thing as a true friend."
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