Tacoma attorney Donald Powell said Wednesday that he will challenge City Council candidate Ronnie Allen Warren’s candidacy but that he won’t try to get himself on the November ballot.
Powell finished third in last month’s primary election for Tacoma’s District 3 council seat, 25 votes behind Warren, the second-place finisher. Warren admitted Tuesday that he didn’t live at the address he listed on his declaration of candidacy. In addition, an acquaintance of Warren’s says Warren lived at a house on South Fawcett Avenue, outside District 3.
The Tacoma City Charter requires council candidates to live in the district they seek to represent for at least a year before filing for office.
Warren told The News Tribune that he occasionally stayed at the South Fawcett house, but he denied that it’s his residence. He said he’s lived at a Hilltop apartment for about six months, and at another Hilltop location before that.
He said he listed his sister’s South Ash Street address on his declaration of candidacy because he couldn’t remember his own. He dismissed his critics, saying Powell was upset because he lost the election.
Powell said he was offended by Warren’s statement.
“I’m going to challenge his residency without any benefit to me whatsoever,” Powell said Wednesday. “He wants to say it’s sour grapes, I’ll prove to him it isn’t. He wants to talk about integrity. I’ll give him a lesson in integrity.”
Campaign signs for Warren encourage voters to cast their ballot for a “man of integrity.”
Warren didn’t return a phone call Wednesday, but sent an e-mail. “I want you to know in all that the enemy has done to me regarding this incident is that God is still in control and His strength has been perfect in my weakness!” he wrote. “I want to thank you for your coverage of the attempt of my demise.”
Tacoma City Attorney Elizabeth Pauli said Wednesday that she’s determined any challenge of Warren’s candidacy should be made to Pierce County Superior Court. State law and the Tacoma City Charter both address election challenges, raising the possibility that the City Council could hear the question. But Pauli said the issue in this case is whether Warren is qualified to be a candidate.
Al Rose, the Pierce County attorney who represents the auditor’s office, said Wednesday that a statement from Auditor Pat McCarthy has been forwarded to the criminal division of the county prosecutor’s office.
Rose said Tuesday that there could be a question of whether Warren committed perjury. Rose clarified Wednesday that the question would relate to Warren’s voter registration, not his declaration of candidacy. From December 2005 through June 4, 2007, the address on Warren’s voter registration was 6318 S. Fawcett Ave., according to the auditor’s office.
Rose said there is no penalty of perjury for giving false information on a declaration of candidacy.
Powell said he couldn’t understand how the auditor’s office wouldn’t look into Warren’s declaration of candidacy. He noted that candidates sign their names under a statement that reads, “I declare that this information is, to the best of my knowledge, true.”
Candidates must sign the document before a witness at the auditor’s office or before a notary, McCarthy said.