Opinion

Federal Way's sexiest election race | Bob Roegner

The most exciting Federal Way area race this year will be to replace Mark Miloscia in the state House of Representatives.

Miloscia is giving up his District 30 seat to run for state auditor. The open position is expected to draw a large field. This past week, two more candidates moved from rumor mill to active as both Roger Flygare and Tony Moore formally kicked off their campaigns with fundraisers.

Flygare is a Democrat who ran for the Federal Way City Council last year. While he lost that race, as a first-time candidate it did improve his name familiarity and sharpen his campaign skills. Flygare is a local businessman who has ties to the valley portion of the district. He has been endorsed by Miloscia and Lt. Gov. Brad Owen, along with several precinct officers.

Since Moore’s announcement date seemed to slide, some had wondered if he would actually get into the race. That question was answered with his formal kickoff. Moore is a Republican, and is president of the Federal Way School Board. He lost a state Senate race against Democratic incumbent Tracey Eide two years ago, and previously lost a race against Miloscia. This time, he won’t be taking on an incumbent.

Federal Way City Councilwoman Linda Kochmar, also a Republican, announced for the position several weeks ago.

Since it will be a contested primary, with other Republicans, it was a little surprising that Moore had several incumbent House members at his campaign kickoff. Although some, such as District 30 State Rep. Katrina Asay, also attended Kochmar’s event.

Other notables at Moore’s event were Federal Way School District Superintendent Rob Neu and three other members of the school board. Moore’s support from school leaders wasn’t a surprise, but attendance by out-of-area legislators was and is a plus for his campaign.

Similarly, Kochmar’s endorsement list includes mayors and council members from King County cities, which reflects her longtime involvement in regional government. This was expected. The attendance by several Federal Way City Council members at Kochmar’s kickoff was expected, although some will likely remain officially neutral.

A notable surprise is that Councilman Bob Celski is supporting Moore.

Mayor Skip Priest and Deputy Mayor Jim Ferrell, who are Republicans, were not at either event. It is expected that both will remain neutral, at least publicly.

It had been anticipated that Rick Hoffman and Thom McFarlane will get into the race on the Democratic side with Flygare, and that Jerry Galland will join the Republican primary. However, recently Hoffman switched races and will run against Asay.

The two most well known candidates, Moore and Kochmar, are from the same party. Unless Flygare or McFarlane establishes a clear frontrunner status, could we be looking at two Republicans in the November final? It has happened before under the top-two format. Could it happen again? If it does, the winner of the Republican final would be decided by Democratic voters.

Flygare apparently understands the numbers and has made his move. And with Hoffman switching races, it is less likely. After several years as elected public officials in Federal Way, Moore and Kochmar have a built-in base of support and their fundraisers had bigger crowds than Flygare. Also, Federal Way has the largest portion of voters in the district. Flygare will need some big endorsements to keep his momentum going forward.

However, if McFarlane decides not to run and leaves the field to Flygare, while the three Republicans spend valuable resources trying to defeat one another, and then split their partisan primary vote, Flygare could come out of the primary looking strong.

There have already been several twists in this race and there could be more.

We will take a closer look at the possible out comes in a future column, but in the meantime watch the endorsements. It will tell you who is working the math.

 

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