Election season is back. Already.
Candidates filed for office this week in the race for Tacoma’s mayor, plus for the City Council and state Legislature. Dozens of other mayoral and city council positions are up in Pierce County as well.
Voters will pick their favorites in a top-two primary Aug. 1, then a winner Nov. 7.
Here’s a roundup of who filed as of early Friday evening in the most important races on the ballot this year:
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All eyes are pointed on Seattle’s Eastside suburbs when it comes to legislative elections this year. A tight race for the seat held by Sen. Andy Hill, a Republican from Redmond who died of lung cancer last year, has drawn a half million dollars in fundraising.
The intense interest is because of the high stakes: Republicans run the state Senate with a one-vote majority with the help of a conservative Democrat.
Yet a race for state Senate in the Puyallup-area 31st Legislative District could be interesting in its own right.
State Sen. Phil Fortunato, R-Auburn, faces Democrat Michelle Rylands to fill the seat left by Pam Roach. Fortunato was appointed to the position in January when Roach left for the Pierce County Council. Before the appointment, Fortunato had been elected to the state House last year.
Republicans are thought to have an advantage based on how voters in the district have picked in the past. President Donald Trump won about 50 percent of the vote last year, outpacing Hillary Clinton’s 42 percent.
In the Legislature, Fortunato has been a fiercely anti-tax conservative, championing an effort to place a constitutional ban on personal income taxes. He also pushed to simplify the state’s laws and repeal unnecessary ones.
He was ultimately stymied by the Democrat-controlled House: No legislation he sponsored reached the governor’s desk this year.
Rylands is a 911 operator and veteran who lives in Auburn, according to her website. She is president of the Auburn Council of Parent-Teacher Alliances, and her website says education funding is a focus.
The candidates for Fortunato’s old seat in the state House are Rep. Morgan Irwin, R-Enumclaw, and Democrat Nate Lowry, a Edgewood city councilman.
Irwin, who was appointed to replace Fortunato in January, is a Seattle police officer. Lowry is a landscape architect who used to own a small business.
The Tacoma City Council has five seats up for election, chief among them the race for mayor.
Environmental issues — specifically related to withdrawn plans for a methanol plant and plans for a liquefied natural gas plant on the Tideflats — have been a top concern. Several candidates have staked out positions against the plant and fossil fuel expansion at the Port of Tacoma.
Four seats are wide open: Mayor Marilyn Strickland, and Councilmen Joe Lonergan and Marty Campbell are term limited. Appointed Councilwoman Lauren Walker Lee said she won’t run for the at-large seat formerly held by Victoria Woodards. Councilman Robert Thoms is seeking a second term in his district.
A three-way contest for mayor has developed among former Councilwoman and Tacoma Urban League Executive Director Woodards, local architect Jim Merritt (who ran for mayor in 2009 and lost narrowly to Strickland), and Evelyn Lopez, the former executive director of the state Public Disclosure Commission.
Otherwise, the race with perhaps the most name recognition is the one for at-large position 6, held by Woodards until she resigned in December to run for mayor. At least eight people who applied to be appointed to her seat are running for council seats this year.
Vying for the seat are socialist and minimum-wage activist Sarah Morken, planning commission member Meredith Neal, Hilltop pastor and activist the Rev. Gregory Christopher, longtime educator and former library trustee Lillian Hunter, and Maria Johnson.
Thoms, the incumbent in position 2 that includes Northeast Tacoma, the Tideflats and downtown, has competition from Philip Cowan, executive director of the Grand Cinema who lives in North Tacoma.
On the East Side, a three-way race has formed for position 4 among Tacoma School Board member Catherine Ushka, real estate developer Kevin Grossman, and Shalisa Hayes, a driving force behind the planned East Side Community Center and head of a nonprofit aimed at preventing youth violence, named in honor of her slain son. Campbell has endorsed Ushka to succeed him.
In the Port of Tacoma, a three-way race is on to replace Connie Bacon, who has been on the Port Commission for 20 years. Commercial real estate broker Jim Jensen, former port security director Eric Holdeman and former port commissioner and ex-Superior Court Judge John McCarthy are running for position 1.
Commission Chairman Dick Marzano is being challenged for port position 2 by Noah Davis, and commissioner Don Meyer is being challenged by Kristin Ang for port position 4.
For the complete list of candidates running for public office in Pierce County