A retired Army colonel is running for state House in central Pierce County.
Rick Thomas announced Monday he would challenge Rep. David Sawyer, a Democrat seeking his third term in the House. Both candidates are Parkland residents.
Thomas commanded the 1st Special Forces Group based at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. After retiring, he said he helped set up a scholarship fund in the group’s name for children of Special Forces soldiers.
Candidates in Washington can choose the party preference listed on the ballot, and Thomas is running as an “independent Republican.” That label might help distance him from the Republican Party, but any Republican is an underdog in the Democratic-leaning 29th District that spans parts of Lakewood, Parkland, Spanaway, Frederickson, South Tacoma and that city’s South End.
Thomas said he wants to focus on care and employment of veterans, education and business climate.
Branden Durst, a Democrat, has also filed campaign-finance paperwork to seek the House seat.