In the largest field among three Pierce County Council races, two Tacoma Democrats – state Rep. Connie Ladenburg and real estate agent Sharon Benson – were advancing Tuesday night.
Ladenburg held a sizable lead to fill the District 4 position being vacated by term-limited Tim Farrell, D-Tacoma. Ladenburg represents the 29th District in the Legislature.
In the same race, Benson was edging University Place Mayor Ken Grassi, a Republican, who was finishing third in the contest to represent Fircrest, University Place and much of Tacoma. University Place Councilman Chris Nye, another Republican, was a distant fourth.
In District 2, incumbent Republican Joyce McDonald, the council chairwoman, was advancing along with Republican challenger and Edgewood Mayor Jeff Hogan. McDonald held a large lead. Puyallup auctioneer and real estate agent J.R. Wikane, another Republican, was in a distant third. District 2 includes Puyallup, Sumner, Fife, Northeast Tacoma, Milton and Edgewood.
In District 3, two veteran legislators – Marilyn Rasmussen and state Rep. Jim McCune, R-Graham – were advancing in a close race to represent a region stretching from Spanaway and Frederickson to Graham, Eatonville and Ashford.
The race marks the return of Rasmussen, who was unseated in 2008 after 22 years as a legislator. The Eatonville Democrat then lost to McCune in 2010 when she ran for the state House. They’re competing for the seat to be vacated by term-limited Roger Bush, R-Frederickson.
Corey Drury, a Spanaway Republican who works as an engineer for a Sumner baking company, was losing by a large margin in third place.
In the District 6 race where both candidates automatically advance to the general election, Lakewood Mayor Doug Richardson, a Republican, led Anderson Island resident Ann Dasch, a Democrat. The district, now represented by term-limited Republican Dick Muri of Steilacoom, includes Lakewood, west Parkland, Joint Base Lewis-McChord and DuPont.
If Tuesday night’s first-place leaders all win in November, the council’s Republican majority would drop by one to 4-3.
The primary also was a test run in the race for Pierce County executive. Incumbent Pat McCarthy, a Democrat, held a large lead over Bruce Minker, a corrections deputy at the Pierce County Jail. Minker, union president for corrections deputies, is running without a party preference.
Both candidates for county executive automatically advance to the November election.