Next week is the end of the primary season, which determines who will go on to the general election in November.
For voters looking for independent and objective information, The Mirror and other local newspapers have announced their endorsements and the Municipal League of King County recently released its ratings.
Two of the most prominent elections are on the Eastside as King County Council member Jane Hague fights to retain her position, and control of the Bellevue City Council is up for grabs.
Why should South King County readers care about what happens on the Eastside?
As an example, remember that little disagreement the city has with Sound Transit over extending light rail to Federal Way?
The region is politically interdependent and the winners in those races may have an effect on several regional issues in the next few years that impact Federal Way and South King County.
The King County Council is non-partisan in name only, as important issues such as the Metro license tab fee illustrate. The council is divided along party lines as the five Democrats favor it and the four Republicans are opposed. There was a time when some speculated that Hague might support the increase. Not likely now, as she is in a difficult race. Hague may end up voting to allow the public to decide the issue. While Hague has a long history of public service, she only received a “good” rating from the Municipal League. Two of her opponents received higher league ratings.
Richard Mitchell, who was legal counsel to Democratic Gov. Chris Gregoire, received an “outstanding” and former Bellevue City Council member Patsy Bonincontri got a “very good.” The other candidate, Port Commissioner John Creighton, received a rating of “good.” For an incumbent with Hague’s background to get such a low rating is significant. Hague is in trouble because several issues surfaced after filing closed four years ago, including a DUI, although the charge was later reduced.
The numbers suggest Hague should make it past the primary. But if she faces Mitchell or Bonincontri, it could be an uphill battle.
In King County Council position 8, look for Joe McDermott to have a big lead over Diana Toledo as both move toward November. McDermott’s league rating was “very good,” and Toledo’s was “good.”
Over in Bellevue City Hall, the council has been split 4-3 with the conservatives outnumbering the moderates.
There have been allegations of unethical conduct from each side, although an investigator ruled none existed, and the politics have become unusually raw. Two of the moderates, John Chelminak and Claudia Balducci, face stiff opposition, although both got an “outstanding” league rating.
In the battle for position 3 on the Federal Way City Council, Susan Honda continues to look like the frontrunner. Most observers expect Roger Flygare to take the second spot and face Honda in November. Both were endorsed by The Mirror, and Honda got a “very good” from the Municipal League. However, candidate Mark Koppang got a much needed boost when he got the same rating as Honda.
Flygare and Scott Sparling each received “adequate.” That could be the momentum change Koppang needs. If he is going to make a move, now is the time. Watch to see if Koppang increases his mailings and advertising. If he does, he could get past Flygare.
In the Federal Way School Board race, it still appears that Danny Peterson and Liz Drake will advance.
Now it’s time to vote.