Former University Place City Councilman Stan Flemming and former Peninsula School District Board member Betty Ringlee led the race for the Pierce County Council District 7 seat Tuesday.
Three seats on the County Council are open, and the District 7 race was the most competitive of the primary election. The top two vote-getters in each contest will move on to the Nov. 2 general election.
In District 1, State. Rep. Dan Roach, a Republican, and former Tacoma Professional Firefighters union president Pat McElligott, a Democrat, were headed for the general election. Orting City Councilwoman Nicola McDonald was a distant third
And in District 5, former Tacoma City Councilman Rick Talbert led a field of three candidates, all Democrats. Citizen activist Audrey Chase was running second. Erich Sachs was running third.
Here’s a look at the races:
COUNCIL DISTRICT 7
Early primary election returns virtually assured Flemming a spot on the November general election ballot. Ringlee was running second in a competitive eight-candidate field.
A matchup between Flemming and any of the other seven would pit an east-of-The Narrows candidate against a west-of-The Narrows candidate for a seat that peninsula residents long have considered their own. Though the district covers University Place, Fircrest and a slice of Tacoma, as well as the Gig Harbor and Key peninsulas, it’s never been held by anyone from the east side off the bridge.
Flemming, a Republican who served in the Legislature from 1992-1995 and on the University Place City Council from 1995-2009, said Tuesday night that he’ll work hard to represent people on both sides of the 7th District.
“The 7th District is not about how we divide people, it’s about how we unite people for a common cause,” he said. He’d pay attention to everything from growth and traffic issues on the Peninsula to sewer concerns in University Place, he said.
Ringlee, a Democrat, held a thin lead among the Peninsula-area candidates. She said her 10-year service on the Peninsula School Board and long residency in Gig Harbor give her in-depth knowledge of the areas west of the Narrows. Her eight years of working with constituents while assistant to then-County Councilwoman Karen Biskey proves her ability to handle the concerns of all the district’s residents and work with many governments, she said.
COUNCIL DISTRICT 1
Roach says his experience as a family man and small-business owner have taught him the importance of responsible spending, a value he would carry to the County Council chambers.
“One thing that I’ve worked very hard on in Olympia is property rights issues,” Roach said Tuesday night. “I look forward to doing that on a more local level.”
McElligott cites his three-decade career as a professional firefighter and work to save the Proctor District fire station in Tacoma as examples of his concerns for the safety and well-being of residents.
The race won’t be about partisan politics, he said, it will be about “who’s going to be an advocate” for the people and “isn’t just running for a paycheck.”
COUNCIL DISTRICT 5
Talbert is an eight-year veteran of the Tacoma City Council and a longtime Pierce County employee. Chase was a member of the Pierce County Charter Review Commission and casts herself as a seasoned volunteer who isn’t a career bureaucrat.