Tacoma voters appeared to be sending Jim Merritt and Victoria Woodards on to the November general election in the race for mayor, according to early election results Tuesday night.
Evelyn Lopez had the least votes in the top-two primary and looks to be out of the running.
Merritt said he was humbled by the early results and excited about moving on.
“Victoria is a formidable candidate and opponent, and we’re looking forward to a good race,” he said.
Woodards said she felt like her team’s hard work paid off. She added she’s glad Lopez entered the race and said that more people like her should run for office in Tacoma.
“We had low voter turnout in our city, and we know with low voter turnout numbers that conservatives tend to be the ones who vote the most, but I’m a progressive candidate and there are probably an additional 20,000 votes that will come in in the general election, and those are younger, more diverse voters,” Woodards said.
Merritt has said he wants to bring more family-wage jobs to Tacoma and expedite the construction of light rail between Tacoma and Seattle, and change the culture at city hall.
Woodards has said she would increase funding for public safety and bring more living-wage jobs to Tacoma while focusing on affordability for those who live here.
Lopez was vocally opposed to the planned liquefied natural-gas plant on the Tideflats and has said she would oppose fossil-fuel expansion at the port and seek to bring other types of manufacturing there.
Merritt, 70, is a longtime Tacoma architect and was the first of the three to announce he would be running for mayor, which he did in November 2016. It’s his second time running. In 2009, he lost narrowly to Marilyn Strickland, whose second and final term as mayor ends at the end of 2017.
Woodards, 52, is a former two-term councilwoman who resigned her seat in December in order to run for mayor. Her departure a year early was a nod to the city’s term limits, which prohibits anyone from serving more than 10 years in a row in the mayor or council positions but does not specify how long of a break elected officials must take.
Lopez, 55, is an attorney and former executive director of the state Public Disclosure Commission and the only one of the three who has never sought elected public office before now.