Lillian Hunter has a wide lead in early primary election returns Tuesday for the at-large Tacoma City Council seat, according to results posted by the Pierce County Auditor’s Office.
Meredith Neal also appeared to have enough votes to advance to the November ballot. In Washington state, the top two vote-getters in the primary election advance to the fall ballot.
Both are first-time candidates.
The District 6 seat was previously held by Victoria Woodards. She resigned her seat a year ago to pursue the mayor’s seat and was replaced in January by former councilwoman Lauren Walker Lee.
“I’m thrilled with (the results), and I’m thrilled with the confidence the voters of Tacoma have shown in me and I want to live up to their expectations,” said Hunter, who earned the most votes. She is the director of alternative learning for the Office of Superintendent for Public Instruction and former Tacoma Public Library trustee.
Neal, with the second-highest vote tally, is a Tacoma Planning Commission member and a project manager for Tacoma remodeling company MRF Construction. She said she looks forward to meeting more community groups as her campaign marches toward November.
“I’m really thankful for everybody who voted for me so far,” she said.
Both candidates told The News Tribune they had respect for each other.
“I think it’s great that we have two strong women who are moving forward to the general election,” Neal said. “So far it’s been a very friendly race.”
Three other candidates did not appear to have enough votes to advance in the five-way race.
Maria Johnson, who announced her withdrawal from the race last week in a Facebook post, will not move on to the November election.