Numerical surprises in the primary election | Roegner

The primary election went according to form as the expected finalists made it through to November.

But there were some surprises in the numbers. In politics, if the incumbents attract less than 50 percent during the primary, then they are considered potentially vulnerable, as it serves as a bellweather for funding and support. Above 50 percent, they are considered in good position, and it will be an uphill battle for their opponent.

Appointed incumbent Federal Way City Councilmember Kelly Maloney had the biggest number of the night at 51 percent against second-time candidate Mark Koppang, who had 32 percent. Third-place finisher Anthony Murrietta had 16 percent.

Maloney has only been on the council for a few months. She is not well known citywide, has never run for office before, and Koppang is a good candidate. Pre-primary estimates would have put her and Koppang at about 42 percent to 44 percent each. Maloney’s drawing over 50 percent is eye catching. And while both candidates are conservative, Koppang has held a position in the 30th District Republican party. That’s relevant because Democratic voters will be looking for a candidate to vote for now that Murrietta is out of the race. They would seem more likely to go for Maloney.

But the big story the political types were watching was whether Maloney’s complaint about Mayor Skip Priest’s behavior would have any impact on the election. Would there be a bounce-back that made her numbers drop below 40 percent? Would we see a mayoral race in the subset of numbers? It seems unlikely that anyone who will vote for Skip Priest will also vote for Kelly Maloney. If you’re voting for Priest, you’re probably voting for Koppang.

With Koppang finishing 8 percent below 40 percent, and Maloney finishing 11 percent above 40 percent, the numbers would suggest the voters found her believable. We may be in for a close mayoral race. Also, even though Maloney’s numbers are very good, don’t count Koppang out just yet.

The other notable surprise of the evening was that appointed incumbent City Councilmember Diana Noble-Gulliford ran second at 40 percent to Martin Moore’s almost 47 percent. However, that may be misleading as Noble-Gulliford is a Republican and Moore is a Democrat, and third-place finisher Ryan Miller is a Republican. Miller captured 13 percent, which will go to Noble-Gulliford in November. This will be a close race.

In the race for Federal Way School Board, Carol Gregory had approximately 45 percent, newcomer Medgar Wells had 37 percent, and K. Lance Barton was at 17 percent. This will also be a very close race in November.

In Auburn, Deputy Mayor Nancy Backus ran an almost incumbent type race in her effort to replace retiring Mayor Pete Lewis. Backus had the support of Auburn’s political power structure and came in at 47 percent. Councilmember John Partridge had 37 percent and Scot Pondelick had 15 percent. However, with Backus under the magic 50 percent mark, this may turn into a race if Partridge can attract Pondelick’s voters.

Over on the Eastside, King County Councilmember Reagan Dunn was thought by many to be vulnerable to an aggressive campaign by Shari Song after his loss in last year’s Attorney General race. Maybe not. Dunn finished at 56 percent. Appointed Councilmember Rod Dembowski in District 1 took 70 percent and looks safe.

Lastly, King County Executive Dow Constantine, as expected, rolled to victory with 76 percent.

Try and see as many candidates in person as you can. The Mirror will host debates on Oct. 9 and Oct. 23.


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