Federal Way Mirror


King County campaigns kick off with surprises | Roegner

By BOB ROEGNER Federal Way Mirror Inside Politics
June 7, 2013 · Updated 5:24 PM

There are always some surprises during filing week, and this year was no exception.

King County Executive Dow Constantine will face minimal opposition and appears a lock for re-election. Federal Way’s own King County Councilman Pete von Reichbauer did him one better and has no opponent at all.

Over on the Eastside, it was a little different story, as King County Councilman Reagan Dunn could have his hands full with two challengers. Coming off a long battle in the Attorney General’s race, it may be difficult for Dunn to marshal all his resources again. He still looks like the favorite, but watch Shari Song.

Many people had expected that Julia Patterson would step down from the county council, and she confirmed that during filing week. State Rep. Dave Upthegrove filed for her position and should have the inside track.

Rod Dembowski was appointed to replace Bob Ferguson, who was elected Attorney General. He drew two opponents, but should be able to hang onto the seat.

The most important state race will be in the 26th District in Port Orchard. Nathan Schlicher was appointed to the state Senate to replace Derek Kilmer when he was elected to Congress. Schlicher is a Democrat. He will be opposed by Rep. Jan Angel (R). Given that the 25-24 Senate Republican control includes two Democrats, this race is big.

The incumbent mayor of Kent, Suzette Cooke, will be challenged by former councilman Tim Clark, who is well known and will make the race competitive.

In Pacific, the recall election of Mayor Cy Sun is set for June 25. Sun has gotten a disproportionate share of the blame for the circumstances, and he got some bad advice. He has also been his own worst enemy and has simply made too many mistakes. The recall will be successful.

Auburn Mayor Pete Lewis stepped down after three terms and is running for the Port Commission. He is challenging incumbent John Creighton. Creighton does have some political problems, but he has raised about $80,000 and Lewis hasn’t. It would be good for South King County to have someone on the commission, but running for mayor of Auburn and running countywide are two different things. It is possible, but it looks like an uphill battle for Lewis unless he gets key Seattle endorsements and raises a lot of money.

With the mayor’s job open in Auburn, Councilmember Nancy Backus is running and has the support of Lewis. Her campaign manager is one of Lewis’s staff and is an insider in city government. Backus has been involved in activities in Auburn for many years and is well liked. She has the support of a majority of the council and much of the city establishment. However, she is being challenged by Councilmember John Partridge along with political newcomer Scot Pondelick.

Partridge will pick up support from residents who are concerned that a vote for Backus is like voting for another term for Lewis and the status quo. Partridge will advocate change and could also pick up support from the public safety interests. Pondelick is earnest and trying hard, but is running against two candidates with more experience.

We’ll see if Pondelick’s efforts strike a chord. The early advantage goes to Backus.

Most people have felt that Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn was so vulnerable that he might not make it through the primary. However, the field became so crowded that it actually helped McGinn.

The others appear to be splitting the anti-incumbent vote and also splitting Seattle’s special interest groups. McGinn got a lot of positive ink in the effort to land the NBA’s Sacramento Kings.

Then the race got a jolt when the main contender to McGinn, Tim Burgess, suddenly pulled out saying the campaign wasn’t going well. I’m not sure what the real story is yet, but that isn’t it. Suddenly, McGinn doesn’t look as vulnerable.

Also in Seattle, former Federal Way City Councilmember Dean McColgan is running for the Seattle School Board.

The Federal Way School Board will see a change as Angela Griffin is stepping down. Three candidates have stepped forward to replace her. Carol Gregory has previously run for the state Legislature, and that gives her an edge in how to organize a campaign. Medgar Wells and Kenneth Barton also filed, and Wells has been making the rounds.

We’ll look at Federal Way elections in more detail in future columns.


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