A retired Tacoma architect who helped lead an effort to stop Pierce County from building a multimillion dollar general services building has declared a write-in candidacy for the Pierce County Council.
Kit Burns, 64, is challenging Councilwoman Connie Ladenburg, D-Tacoma, who was previously running unopposed for re-election.
Burns, who is running as an independent, filed a formal declaration with the Pierce County Auditor’s Office and paid the $1,076 filing fee this week, according to Auditor Julie Anderson.
His filing comes after ballots have already been mailed and less than three weeks before the Aug. 2 primary.
Burns said he spent the last month contemplating whether to run. He had not planned to run, but changed his mind after seeing Ladenburg unopposed.
“As a voter that’s always bothered me when a candidate’s running unchallenged,” he said.
His formal declaration means the county’s elections division will look for his name during the ballot counting process, Anderson said.
To make the November ballot, Burns must get 1 percent of the total votes cast for the office.
Anderson’s office estimates 35 to 40 percent of voters will participate in the August election. Based on those estimates, Burns must receive between 220 and 252 votes, according to elections manager Michael Rooney.
Burns was one of three people who wrote a statement in the 2015 voters pamphlet in support of repealing the county’s plan to consolidate departments into one building. Voters ultimately approved the measure, repealing the county’s attempt to build a $127 million government headquarters building.
Burns said he plans to go door-to-door in the coming days to spread the word about his campaign.
Anderson noted the last time her office saw a write-in candidate was in 2012 when Sharon Hanek ran for state treasurer. She was successful in the primary and advanced to the general election, Anderson said.
Hanek most recently headed the Pierce County Charter Review Commission.
“She did exactly what Mr. Burns is doing,” Anderson said. “It’s all up to the write-in candidate to make himself known to the voters. We will watch with interest and we appreciate he took the time to declare.”