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By Rod Larse
Ritzville Adams County Journal 

Write-in candidates certified as Hatton winners

Town has had tumultuous few years


Last updated 12/1/2021 at 2:01pm

HATTON – Three write-in candidates have swept the local election in what appears to be an organized effort to unseat incumbents in ths small Adams County town just north of Connell.

The official results were certified Tuesday, Nov. 23, by the Adams County Canvassing Board.

Justine Pherigo won election to the mayoral race.

Meanwhile, Rhea Isaac won Town Council Position No. 1 and Ignacio Mendoza won Position No. 3.

The only hold over from the previous council appears to be Terri Case, who won election to Council Position No. 2 in 2019.

Council Position Nos. 4 and 5 are currently vacant, with no candidate filing for those offices, or declaring a write-in candidacy, in the Nov. 2 general election.

The new town administration will have an opportunity to appoint individuals to fill those seats.

The winning candidates were unable to be reached for comment by press time.

It’s been a tumultuous few years for municipal government in Hatton.

In August 2018, Brittany Baldwin was appointed interim mayor following the resignation of Daniel Fitts, who also served as town water master.

In June 2019, the town was without running water for several days when the pump in the only functioning well failed.

In November 2019, Baldwin was elected to her own four-year term as mayor.

On April 20, 2020, then Hatton resident Dell Palmer met with Adams County commissioners, in Ritzville, to discuss legislative operations in town. Palmer was concerned that new development in town did not meet zoning requirements, and expressed concerns about the expansion of the town water system.

On May 8, 2020, Palmer was appointed to fill a town council seat, apparently vacated by James Winebarger.

On May 13, 2020, according to Baldwin, and reported in The Journal, the “mayor pro tempore and a few council members” met to appoint Linda Palmer, wife of Dell Palmer, to Council Position No. 3, held by Terry Quandt.

The meeting was alleged to be in violation of state open meeting laws. Baldwin stated at the time "Mr. Terry Quandt did not resign from council, as we were falsely told," documents show.

The Town Council membership at the time included James Van Patten, Terry Quandt, Terri Case, Justine Pherigo and Del Palmer.

In November 2020, Dell Palmer was appointed interim mayor following the resignation of Baldwin.

On March 22, 2021, Mayor Palmer met with Adams County commissioners to discuss the town.

Palmer expressed concern that property adjacent to the town had been annexed without proper notice and public hearings. He told the board a cannabis grow pen was established on the annexed parcel, and town water was being supplied to the growing operation.

He went on to say he was planning to launch a petition for a ballot measure to approve the dissolution of the town.

In the recently completed General Election, Palmer was the incumbent and the only mayoral candidate on the ballot when the organized write-in campaign was launched.

Palmer only received six votes, or 26.09%; write-in ballots totaled 17.

In the Position No. 1 race, incumbent Van Patten received only 5 votes, or 21.74%. Write-ins totaled 18, or 78.26%.

And in the Position No. 3 race, incumbent Linda Palmer received only 6 votes out of a total of 23 cast. The write-in candidate received 73.91%.


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