Former Tacoma City Councilman Mike Lonergan looks like the next Pierce County assessor-treasurer.
Lonergan, 63, led comfortably in first night returns, outpointing his opponent, Billie OBrien, administrative manager at the assessors office.
"I have respect for my opponent and look forward to working with her and the other people in the assessors office, Lonergan said Tuesday night. My twin goals will be restore their pride in the office and restore the publics trust in that office.
The two vied for the right to replace Dale Washam, the controversial incumbent, who sought a second term but finished fourth in the August primary election.
Formally the office is non-partisan. Informally, the candidates drew support from traditional partisan allies. Lonergan had the backing of the county Republican party and elected leaders. OBrien was backed by county Democrats and local unions.
Lonergan enjoyed a money advantage of close to 3 to 1. It showed up on the street and in mailboxes. Lonergan papered the county with red signs and his slogan (Lets fix this). He sent letters to county voters, touting his past experience as a city councilman and executive director of the Tacoma Rescue Mission.
In her first run for political office, OBrien, 63, pitched herself as the candidate with know-how and background, citing her 21 years of experience working at all levels of the assessors office.
Both candidates promised to end the internal rancor created by Washams tenure, which included payouts to current and former employees that exceeded $1.5 million. Lonergan referred to Washam as a tyrannical boss in campaign literature.
The assessors job is mostly technical appraising properties throughout the county and setting their values for tax collection. The officeholder does not set tax rates; that decision rests with the County Council and other local governments.
Pierce County Executive Pat McCarthy was winning easily in her bid for a second four-year term against Corrections Deputies Guild President Bruce Minker.
McCarthy, a Democrat, ran on her record and experience. In her first four years, McCarthy, 58, cut jobs to balance the county budget, largely shielded public safety from the budget ax and streamlined operations at the countys permitting department.
Minker, 52, a corrections deputy at the Pierce County Jail, said he could do a better job and would stop the waste of your tax dollars.
Minker ran without a party preference. The Republican Party did not run a challenger to unseat McCarthy.