Despite a well-oiled rumor mill of speculation, there were still some filing week surprises. It was assumed that longtime council member Jeanne Burbidge would retire and not run in Position 4, and, although she kept us in suspense, the speculation proved accurate.
In anticipation of Burbidge’s retirement, Sharry Edwards announced early and was already out campaigning and raising money.
Then the biggest surprise hit when not one, but two, well-known community leaders joined Edwards in the race.
Insurance agency owner Jack Stanford and planning commissioner Diana Noble-Gulliford are both well known and have several connections due to their business and community involvement. Noble-Gulliford has previous campaign experience as a council candidate and held an appointed seat on the council a few years ago. Stanford has never run for office before, but his interest is not new. A fourth person, Hoang Tran, also filed but appears to be a mystery candidate.
The second biggest surprise was in Position 6, where incumbent Martin Moore will face a challenge from only businessman Roger Flygare. Pre-filing speculation was this was the weakest race, as neither candidate was particularly strong, and this position could be very inviting to a well-known candidate. Some City Hall watchers commented that Stanford or Noble-Gulliford should have filed in this race rather than join Edwards. Noble-Gulliford, who is a Republican, lost to Moore, however, when he was a Democrat four years ago when she was trying to retain her appointed position. Now that Moore is a Republican, Noble-Gulliford may have received pressure from Moore, or his supporters, to stay out of the race. There is some question about how much of a Republican Moore is, but, as the incumbent, he would have been given deference. And Stanford had already donated to Moore’s campaign. Either Stanford or Noble-Gulliford would have made this race much more interesting.
In Position 2, Bob Celski will be opposed by Jesse Johnson, as expected.
The race for mayor between incumbent Jim Ferrell and council member Susan Honda had been known for several weeks. That perennial candidate Mark Greene would join them was also not a surprise. But a fourth candidate who had filed paperwork with the Public Disclosure Commission did not file with the Department of Elections. With three candidates, there will still be a primary. Honda and Greene will split the anti-incumbent vote, so the total in the primary may be misleading. The primary helps the two finalists, however, as it will disclose the candidates’ strengths and weaknesses.
All of these races could be close. It will be up to the candidates to give voters a clear choice.
It would seem that the voters are comfortable with the direction of the school board, as neither Geoffery McAnalloy or Carol Gregory attracted a challenger. Incumbents for Lakehaven Water and Sewer District, South King Fire &Rescue and both city municipal judges also will be unopposed.
Continuing that trend, many of the big names, such as King County Executive Dow Constantine, will have minimal opposition or none at all, such as local King County Council members Pete von Reichbauer and Dave Upthegrove. The only County Council members to have competition are Kathy Lambert and Reagan Dunn. Lambert’s race, in northeast King County, is the one to watch. Sheriff John Urquhart attracted an opponent, but it is too soon to tell if his recent controversy will become a significant factor in the race.
Once thought to be a slow walk to certain re-election for incumbent Ed Murray, the biggest regional race will be for mayor of Seattle. After Murray’s personal problems forced his withdrawal, 21 candidates will vie to take his place. Front-runner is Jenny Durkin, who is well respected and well connected.
The race for mayor in Auburn is similar to Federal Way, as incumbent Nancy Backus will be opposed by a member of her council, Largo Wales. A third candidate lists his address as Pacific, which has raised questions.
The Port of Seattle races could be interesting as controversial Position 1 incumbent John Creighton drew three challengers, including former legislator Claudia Kauffman. Stephanie Bowman in Position 2 drew two candidates but still looks safe. The most-watched race will be to replace retiring incumbent Tom Albro. Eight candidates filed, but one of them was Peter Steinbrueck, whose connections are strong enough to make him the immediate front-runner.
There will be four state Senate races, including next door in the 31st District, that could alter the balance of power come January. The most watched race will be in the 45th, however, on the Eastside.
And in case you missed it, sometimes even appointments look like elections as the former Federal Way chief of staff to Mayor Jim Ferrell, Brian Wilson, was appointed city manager in Burien with four yes votes, one no and two abstentions. Usually the final vote for city manager is unanimous, but it is still a win for Wilson.
Local candidates value media endorsements, such as the Mirror’s, and ratings, such as the Municipal League of King County’s, above all others because they are independent and done by knowledgeable people. Watch for those later and do your homework on the candidates.
Federal Way resident Bob Roegner is a former mayor of Auburn and retired public official. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.