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Bunney joins the exec race

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By Dennis Box-The Courier-Herald

Pierce County Councilman Shawn Bunney officially jumped into the race for county executive last week.

Bunney, a Lake Tapps area resident, hosted a lunch fundraiser at Tacoma's Landmark Convention Center Dec. 5 and the event drew more than 500 people, including most of the state's heavy hitters in the Republican Party.

Attorney General Rob McKenna served as master of ceremonies. Dino Rossi, who is planning a rematch with Chris Gregoire in November for the governor's chair, was in attendance along with state Rep. Dan Roach, R-Bonney Lake, and numerous area officials.

On the County Council, Bunney represents District 1, which includes the Bonney Lake, Lake Tapps, Buckley and Wilkeson. He won his second term in 2006, which ends in 2010 unless he wins the executive race.

Although fellow councilman Calvin Goings, D-Puyallup, entered the race in December 2006, Bunney has raised the most money, according to figures posted on the Public Disclosure Commission Web site.

Bunney has banked nearly $165,000 and spent about $34,000 while Goings has raised about $125,000 and spent about $35,000.

At the midday fundraiser for Bunney, attendees were asked to contribute $700 each to the cause.

McKenna told the crowd, “no doubt this will be the most important and expensive race in Pierce County history.”

During his speech Bunney emphasized roads, jobs and taxes.

“Highway 167 is the highway to our future,” Bunney said. “Right now 167 dead ends in a corn field. Finishing it means 80,000 jobs. We deserve it and we shouldn't have to build it alone. I will not let Pierce County be ignored. No longer can we take a back seat to Seattle. It is our responsibility to fight for those jobs.”

Also running for the executive position from the Republican side is Pierce County Councilman Terry Lee, R-Gig Harbor.

Tacoma City Councilman Michael Lonergan is running as an independent.

Last week, Pat McCarthy, the county auditor, jumped into the race as a Democrat.

This is Bunney's first attempt at a countywide race.

The current executive, Democrat John Ladenburg, was elected in 2000. The office has a two-term limit.

Dennis Box can be reached at dbox@courierherald.com.

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