PORT ANGELES — The same day one judge cleared Ann Marie Henninger to continue running for Olympic Medical Center hospital commissioner, another judge denied her a civil protection order against a Sequim woman in a related court hearing.
Last Thursday morning, Clallam County Superior Court Judge Lauren Erickson turned back a challenge by Michelle Ridgway that Henninger could not run for the county Hospital District 2, Sequim-district seat. Erickson allowed her name to remain on the ballot.
Ridgway had alleged Henninger did not live in the district when she filed for the election. Erickson ruled that Henninger lived at the 425 Sunnyside Ave. address when she registered for the race May 17, although Henninger said it was being remodeled at the time and did not have heat.
Thursday afternoon, District Court 1 Judge Pro Tem Alexandrea Schodowski denied Henninger’s request for a temporary protection order, which included a mental health evaluation, against Sequim resident Judith Parker, who had an exchange over the phone with Henninger about her address.
Schodowski was affirming an Aug. 15 ruling by District Court 1 Judge Pro Tem Noah Harrison that a preponderance of evidence had not established that Parker harassed Henninger.
Harrison could have denied the order and dismissed the case but denied it and said the matter should be reviewed at the hearing, which it was Thursday before Schodowski.
“Ms. Parker did not go out of the way of her constitutionally protected free speech,” Schodowski ruled.
She said Henninger is a political candidate whose address is public information and noted that the Secretary of State’s Office suggests visiting the address of a candidate when that address is in question.
Henninger accused Parker of harassing and stalking her. She said the Sequim resident called her Aug. 2 and asked her “a series of personal questions about my address, my marriage, my family, the number of years I have lived here and my running for election,” according to the protection-order request.
She said Parker told her “we have been surveilling that address, and we don’t see signs that anyone is living there.”
Henninger said the conversation made her feel “scared and shaky” and “unsafe.”
She said she also felt threatened by Parker telling her “if I did not withdraw from the election, she would file [a] claim against me in court.”
Henninger, a registered nurse, knew Parker from an exchange she had with her at a June 27 League of Women Voters forum, when Parker had asked a follow-up question to Henninger’s statement during the forum that “I do not consider abortion to be health care,” Henninger said.
“I was incredibly rattled by that phone call,” she testified Thursday at the court hearing. “I felt it was invasive and very pushy.”
Parker, herself a county District 1 Charter Review Commission candidate, testified she went by Henninger’s house three times to see if she lived there on the suggestion of general information provided by the Secretary of State’s Office.
She said she left Henninger a voicemail after their Aug. 2 phone conversation that “we” are going to file an address complaint in Superior Court and that “you can abandon your candidacy or we will see you in court.”
Ridgway filed her motion for order to show cause in her address challenge Aug. 5.
Parker testified that she believed there were discrepancies in Henninger’s social media posts about the address, that she had filed as a candidate with a post office box number, and that there was nothing in the phone book indicating where Henninger lived. Henninger had testified earlier Thursday that she moved into the residence between May 9 and 11.
Parker said after the hearing that she “was always very cordial to [Henninger], so this took me completely by surprise that this came up.”
She said the hearing Thursday afternoon “was certainly a component” of the Superior Court action earlier that day.
“I wouldn’t say it triggered it, but it was part” of it, Parker said.
While Parker supports Nate Adkisson, Henninger’s opponent, “that was not the primary motivation,” Parker said.
“I just thought something was fishy.”
Sequim lawyer William Payne represented Henninger in both proceedings Thursday.
“We’re disapointed the court did not find in her favor, but she’s happy she won this morning, so we’ll move on,” Payne said.
Senior Staff Writer Paul Gottlieb can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 55650, or at [email protected].