August might bring a case of summer doldrums to those attuned to local politics, what with the recent primary election slipping into memory and November’s general election still a bit on the horizon.
With a few weeks before Labor Day and the unofficial kickoff to the fall campaign season, the coming days provide an opportunity to mull over the lessons taught during the Aug. 1 primary and look ahead to the battles to come.
EAST PIERCE FIRE AND RESCUE
The geographically-diverse district, which stretches to the Buckley city limits on the east and climbs northwest to take in Edgewood, scored a double victory during the primary. The district put two propositions on the ballot and each passed, though not with a huge mandate.
Proposition 1 was a “levy lid lift,” which the district deemed necessary to continue its current level of fire and emergency medical service. It scored 53.7 percent support, meaning property tax levels will return in 2018 to $1.50 per $1,000 of assessed property value.
Proposition 2, which passed with a 58.2 percent showing, dealt specifically with the district’s EMS capabilities. It, too, was a “lid left” proposal, which restores the district’s taxing authority to 50 cents per $1,000 of assessed value, beginning in 2018.
In both cases, only a simple majority was necessary for passage.
WILKESON EMS LEVY
Property owners in the small town will continue paying for emergency medical service. The only difference brought by the Aug. 1 primary is the tax now takes “forever” status.
Previously, the EMS tax had to be decided every six years. Taxing districts have readily adopted the plan that was approved by the legislature; now, funding is guaranteed for the long haul and districts avoid the cost of putting an EMS measure before voters every six years.
Wilkeson voters approved the EMS levy with 84 percent support. Of the 75 citizens voting on the measure, 63 filled in the “yes” oval. When the first results were released by Pierce County, there were 47 affirmative vote; that would have been problematic, as 48 votes were required for validation. Subsequent vote counts pushed the total comfortably past the requirement.
BLACK DIAMOND COUNCIL
In the always-contentious world of Black Diamond city politics, there will be new face joining the City Council. In a three-person race, Ed Hanrahan (47.5 percent) and Erin Rose Stout (42.99 percent) advanced. Ousted from the race was Scott Sherer.
As in all races, the top two advance, will square off on the November ballot and will take office with the coming of 2018.
The general election is shaping up to be plenty feisty for a city government known for fireworks. Mayor Carol Benson is being challenged by Judy Baxley, with two incumbents departing, leaving their seat up for grabs.
BONNEY LAKE COUNCIL
In a Position 6 race primary race for the City Council, all three candidates posted respectable numbers, but it’s Terry Carter and Pablo Monroy who will appear on the fall ballot. Carter grabbed about 44 percent of the vote total and Monroy pulled more than 34 percent. Eliminated was Dave Baus, who scored 22 percent.
Two other seats are up for election, but in each case incumbent councilmen are running unopposed.
When the general election season heats up, voters will choose councilmen for two positions on the seven-seat City Council. In both cases, the primary election whittled a three-person field.
The Position 3 race will include Kael Johnson and Anthony Wright, who advanced under Washington’s “top two” system. Johnson earned almost 39 percent of the vote while Wright received nearly 37 percent. In a competitive field, Nick Morris was ousted, having earned 23.5 percent of the vote.
Wright presently serves on council, having been appointed this year to fill a vacancy.
The Position 5 candidates are Kyle Jacobson and Blain Thomas. Jacobson was clearly the primary favorite, taking 56 percent of the vote, while Thomas came in second with 24 percent. The third candidate, Kyle Kading, was close behind but did not advance to the November ballot.
Jacobson and Thomas are hoping to fill the seat being vacated by Juanita Carstens, who chose not to seek re-election.
Aside from the two council positions, Enumclaw voters will elect a new mayor in November. Seeking the city’s top post are Kim Lauk and Jan Molinaro, both sitting members of the council. When one advances to the mayor’s office, the city will again advertise to fill a council vacancy.
Also on the November ballot will be races for two other council races that did not require a primary election vote.
The key takeaway from the primary is that 31st District challengers have some catching up to do if they want to be a real force in November.
In each race – for the Senate seat and Position 2 in the House of Representatives – appointed incumbents are looking to stay in office.
In the race for the Senate seat, Republican Phil Fortunato took better than 58 percent of the primary vote, ahead of Democratic challenger Michelle Rylands. In the House race, Republican Morgan Irwin pulled more than 56 percent against Democratic challenger Nate Lowry.