Voters narrow field for Legislature

SOUTH SOUND: Highlights of races with more than 2 candidates in primary

August 18, 2010 

The two closest Legislative races in the region may both produce single-party general election runoffs in November.

In the 27th District’s Position 1 contest, Tacoma attorney and Health Department official Laurie Jinkins was leading and may face Tacoma City Councilman Jake Fey. Both are Democrats. But a third candidate, independent Ken Nichols was slightly behind in third and could gain as more votes are counted.

And in the 31st District Senate race, incumbent Sen. Pam Roach seems headed to what will be a bitter runoff with Sumner City Councilman Matt Richardson. Both are Republicans.

Here are highlights from South Sound races with more than two candidates on the primary ballot.


It appears that Democratic state Rep. Dawn Morrell will face a tough re-election runoff against Republican challenger Hans Zeiger in the district representing Puyallup, Summit-Waller and parts of South Hill, Edgewood and Fife.

Puyallup resident Morrell, who is a critical care nurse, is being held below 50 percent. A political newcomer, Zeiger is a writer and nonprofit professional. Other candidates Democrat Ronald Morehouse, Republican Steven Vermillion and independents Bryan Shaner and Larry Johnson were trailing in early returns.


State Sen. Derek Kilmer, a Gig Harbor Democrat, looks certain to face Republican Marty Mc-Clendon in a November contest . The district, one of state’s true swing districts, includes the Gig Harbor and Key peninsulas and spans up to Port Orchard and south Bremerton. Kilmer is vice president of Tacoma Pierce County Economic Development Board and is finishing his first term as a senator. McClendon is a Gig Harbor real estate broker.


Jake Fey and Laurie Jinkins split up the Tacoma district’s Democrats, battling over endorsements and contributions in what has been a solidly Democratic district .

But along with independent candidate Ken Nichols, they divided the district as closely as they could, with each getting close to a third of the vote.

Election night results placed Jinkins in first with Fey holding a small advantage over Nichols. Democrats Jessica Smeall and Janis (Gall-Martin) Gbalah trailed the field. The winner will replace retiring Rep. Dennis Flannigan.


Incumbent Democrat Jeannie Darneille was first elected in 2000 and will easily make it into the November general election. The nonprofit executive will face Republican Jon Higley, a 30-year classroom teacher.


Tami Green is the incumbent, a Democrat first elected in 2004. But her vote total in this swing district might give Republicans hope of a pick up. She is just below 50 percent against two Republicans.

While close, it appears that Clover Park School District director Paul Wagemann will be her November challenger. He was leading Lakewood Police union president Brian Wurts.


Former Tacoma City Councilwoman Connie Landenburg, a Democrat, and Republican Steven Cook, a Tacoma mortgage loan officer and pastor, will vie for the open seat.

Current Rep. Steve Conway is running for the Senate, leaving his House seat open in the 29th District, which includes South and South End Tacoma, Parkland and part of Lakewood.


State Rep. Steve Conway and Republican newcomer Terry Harder will compete for the seat left open by the retirement of Sen. Rosa Franklin.

Conway, a union representative, has held the house seat in the district since 1993. A small-business specialist, Harder is cofounder of Operation Support Our Troops, a military booster group.


Democrat Carol Gregory and Republican Katrina Asay were leading the race to fill the Federal Way-area seat left open by Republican Skip Priest’s run for Federal Way mayor.

Gregory, director of an antipoverty nonprofit group, is the only Democrat running and was in first place . Asay, the mayor of Milton and a real estate agent, was in second. Trailing behind Asay were three other Republicans, Ed Barney, Anthony Kalchik and Jerry Galland.


If Tuesday’s election was a referendum on Sen. Pam Roach, the Auburn Republican was easily passing the test. Roach was challenged within her own party by Sumner City Councilman Matt Richardson. Roach was well ahead of Richardson in early returns.

Both candidates have seen controversy.

Roach was kicked out of Senate Republicans’ private meetings this year over her treatment of staff.

As for Richardson, the state Auditor’s Office is looking into allegations he improperly used city e-mail for personal business. Democrat Ron Weigelt of Bonney Lake trailed closely behind Richardson in third, while Democrat Raymond Bunk was fourth.


Republican Cathy Dahlquist, an Enumclaw School Board member, was narrowly leading Democrat Peggy Levesque, the mayor of South Prairie. Republican Shawn Bunney, a term-limited Pierce County Councilman , was trailing closely behind in third place . Rep. Dan Roach is running for Bunney’s council seat, leaving open the position that represents Bonney Lake, Enumclaw, Buckley and parts of Auburn.


It appears that Rep. Christopher Hurst, running as an independent Democrat, and Republican Patrick Reed of Sumner will face off in November. Another Republican, Daniel Geske of Bonney Lake, was trailing .

Staff writers John Henrikson and Steve Maynard contributed to this report.

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