For a while, I thought we weren’t going to have any races for the Federal Way City Council or Federal Way School Board to keep track of — and that we would have a boring summer.
Most serious candidates for public office start in January. I have noticed many candidates in Federal Way start in June. Of course, I have heard several of those candidates who lost elections say they should have started earlier.
Not only do we have some races to watch, but also some politics just beneath the surface.
On that score, one of the interesting side issues to filing week was that two of Federal Way’s more well-known politicians, school board president Tony Moore and city council member Jim Ferrell, will run unopposed. Why is this interesting? Because both are likely to be candidates for higher office in the future. Others with political interests similar to theirs may have missed a golden opportunity to keep them busy with a campaign, forcing them to raise and spend money. Both would have been hard to beat. But now they have time to rest, build up points by helping out other candidates and plan their next moves.
The city council in particular will be interesting to watch as incumbents try to win re-election or maneuver with support or endorsements with first-time candidates. On the surface, the council and mayor seem to be on the same page. But below the surface, there is some tension. Who wins which council seats may play a role in future city policy direction.
In position 3, Mark Koppang and Scott Sparling filed at the end of the week, but will have to work hard and spend money to catch up with Roger Flygare and Susan Honda, who already have doorbelling, signs and literature under their belts. Flygare has learned one of the pitfalls of campaigns: He broke a toe while doorbelling.
In position 5, Bob Celski is well known enough to give Jack Dovey a race. Behind the scenes, some with their own interests were trying to get Celski to run against Ferrell. Now that he has filed against Dovey, he will have to define who he is, why he is running and why voters shouldn’t vote for Dovey. How Celski crafts his message will be important because Dovey is well known and well liked. Dovey is out of town for a few weeks, which could help Celski, but Dovey put up signs before he left.
Keith Tyler was the only person to file against Dini Duclos in position 7. Duclos has a well known public record on the city council and from her job at the Multi-Service Center. Tyler will face the same challenge as Celski in trying to convince voters they should vote for him. Since he is not particularly well known citywide, Tyler also gets to define himself for voters. Watch to see if he can raise money and if he can present a marketable message.
Mayor Skip Priest and council member Jim Ferrell spoke at Duclos’ campaign kick-off to show their support. Council member Linda Kochmar also endorsed her along with endorsing Jack Dovey and Susan Honda. Two of Priest’s closest allies on the council have been Dovey and departing council member Mike Park. Watch to see how visible Priest is in Dovey’s race and if he supports anyone for Park’s vacated position 3.
With Suzanne Smith opting to run for the Kent City Council and Amye Bronson-Doherty not running again, we have two vacancies on the school board.
In position 2, Claire Wilson and Gail Crabtree are the candidates, and position 3 will have a primary where Danny Peterson, Carrie BeSerra and Elizabeth Drake filed.
All five of these candidates are known by some groups, but none is well known citywide and districtwide to voters. Endorsements help establish credibility, and Bronson-Doherty plans to endorse Peterson. Watch for other endorsements along with involvement by the political parties.
Whether it is the school board or the city council, when the music stops in November, watch not only for who has a seat, but who has become allies with whom.