King County candidates jump into the election ring | Bob Roegner

They’re off and running — and there won’t be a lack of candidates ringing your doorbell.

The headliner will be the most exciting race for King County Executive in years.

While the position is now officially non-partisan, partisan politics will still be a major factor in how the endorsements, donations and votes are split up.

Former television personality Susan Hutchison is the “Republican” candidate and outpolls everyone in name familiarity. But the other major candidates will try to isolate her as being too conservative for King County voters.

The “Democrats” are Magnolia county council member Larry Phillips; West Seattle county council member Dow Constantine; Eastside legislator Ross Hunter; and Mercer Island state senator Fred Jarrett.

Phillips, who was out first, will battle Constantine for Seattle voters, while Jarrett and Hunter try to gain an advantage on the Eastside. That makes South King County the golden treasure of uncommitted voters. Watch for who raises the most money, the fastest.

The race for mayor of Seattle will help determine the fall voter turnout that will affect the executive’s race. There’s an old saying for incumbents: “If you’re going to have one opponent, you might as well have five.” That’s because they split up the anti-incumbent vote, which benefits the current officeholder.

Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels should be happy. He drew several opponents, but it will come down to him and council member Jan Drago. The advantage goes to Nickels.

Kent Mayor Suzette Cooke, looking for a second term, got a surprisingly tough opponent in Jim Berrios. Berrios is well-known and owns the Golden Steer Restaurant.

Auburn Mayor Pete Lewis will be opposed by business owners Shelley Erickson and Frank Lonergan, along with council member Virginia Haugen. Advantage to Lewis.

In Federal Way, council member Eric Faison’s decision not to seek re-election started all kinds of maneuvering. Diana Noble-Guilliford, president of the Historical Society of Federal Way, was the first to jump in. But she was later joined by David St. John, who owns Gents barbershop, as well as Mike Peterson and Lorie Wood. Former candidates Troy J. Smith and Roger Freeman joined in, then Peterson switched to run against incumbent council member Jeanne Burbidge. Burbidge recently kicked off her re-election with a high-profile event, raising $6,000.

Incumbent council member Linda Kochmar launched her campaign a couple of weeks ago with several community leaders in attendance and raised $3,000. Many residents expected her to run unopposed; however, Sonia Sciscente, who lives in the City Center Access area, has filed against Kochmar. The early advantage goes to Burbidge and Kochmar.

Both Federal Way judges drew opposition. Presiding Judge Michael Morgan will face attorneys Williams Jarvis, Mark Knapp and James Santucci. Matthew York, a King County prosecutor and City of Seattle prosecutor, along with Rebecca Robertson, also filed. Judge David Larson, who was appointed last year, will face Renee Walls — who originally filed to run against Morgan, then switched. Walls is a former Federal Way prosecutor. The early advantage goes to Morgan and Larson, who are both knowledgeable campaigners.

Incumbent school board member Ed Barney will be opposed by Bill Pirkle for Position 1. Appointed school board incumbent Angela Griffin will face Steve Skipper, and appointed incumbent Tony Moore is running unopposed.

Other interesting races to watch are the Sammamish and Kirkland city councils. Former television personality John Curley has filed for the Sammamish City Council. There is already speculation that he is setting up a race against county council member Kathy Lambert in the future if he wins the city position first.

In Kirkland, former Redmond Mayor Doreen Marchione is running for a seat on the city council. Her son, John Marchione, holds her old position in Redmond.

It’s going to be a fun summer. We’ll take a closer look at some of these races later.