At least five mayors losing their jobs in Pierce County; Woodards expands lead in Tacoma

Victoria Woodards leads early Tacoma mayor balloting

Tacoma mayoral candidate Victoria Woodards shares her enthusiasm after early returns show her winning during an election-night party.
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Tacoma mayoral candidate Victoria Woodards shares her enthusiasm after early returns show her winning during an election-night party.

The latest vote tally released Wednesday showed Victoria Woodards with an increasing lead over Jim Merritt in the race to become Tacoma’s next mayor.

Woodards, the former City Councilwoman, led Merritt, an architect, by just more than 1,200 votes at the end of Wednesday. She had a 737-vote lead late Tuesday.

Pierce County Auditor Julie Anderson said her office had about 36,600 countywide ballots left to count at the end of Wednesday. The next vote tally is expected to be reported by 4:30 p.m. Thursday (Nov. 9).

In Tacoma City Council races, Lillian Hunter maintained a big lead in the race for the District 6 at-large seat.

Incumbent Robert Thoms also continued to lead in the race for the District 2 seat; Catherine Ushka was comfortably ahead in the race for District 4; and Chris Beale maintained his lead in the District 5 race.

In other election news:

Mayoral races, from Fircrest to Seattle

No fewer than five mayors were shown the door in Pierce County.

Incumbents Jill Guernsey of Gig Harbor, Debra Perry of Milton, John Hopkins of Puyallup, Joachim Pestinger of Orting and Matthew Jolibois of Fircrest were losing to challengers Kit Kuhn, Shanna Styron Sherrell, John Kastama, Joshua Penner and David Viafore, respectively.

Buckley Mayor Pat Johnson was in a dogfight, trailing challenger Marvin Sundstrom by six votes. Six!

Speaking of mayors, former U.S. Attorney Jenny Durkan looked a cinch to win the mayor’s seat in Seattle, leading Cary Moon by a large margin. The Associated Press called the race for Durkan on Wednesday.

Durkan will be the first woman mayor of Seattle since the 1920s, despite the Emerald City’s progressive reputation. Tacoma, by contrast, appears poised to elect its second minority woman to the mayor’s seat since 2009.

Durkan was upbeat at an Election Night party at The Westin in downtown Seattle, according to The Seattle Times.

“We really can show what it looks like when progressive values are put into action,” she told supporters. “Donald Trump, keep your hands off Seattle.”

The 45th District

Democrat Manka Dhingra continued to hold a healthy lead over Republican Jinyoung Lee Englund in the much-ballyhooed race for the 45th District state Senate seat, and The Associated Press called the race for Dhingra on Wednesday.

Her victory gave Democrats control of state House, Senate and Governor’s Office.

The race in King County’s Eastside suburbs attracted attention from across the nation and merited a mention in Wednesday’s New York Times.

“In Washington State, Democrats won a special election to take control of the State Senate, establishing total Democratic dominance of government on the West Coast,” Alexander Burns and Jonathan Martin wrote for the Gray Lady.

They went on to quote Chris Vance, a former chairman of the state Republican Party, who placed the blame for Democratic gains across the nation squarely at the feet of President Donald Trump.

“Republicans are being obliterated in the suburbs,” Vance told the newspaper. “Among college-educated suburbanites, he is a pariah.”

Bonney Lake says no to pot

Voters in Bonney Lake were soundly rejecting a proposal to amend the city’s zoning regulations to allow retail sales of marijuana in commercial zones.

The Pierce County voters guide carried no statement in favor of passing the proposal.

The anti-pot camp submitted three fat paragraphs, including:

“Allowing retail marijuana would be a detriment to our community, costing more money and lives than the tax revenue would ever justify.”

That line of attack appears to be working.

More than 60 percent of the vote was no.

Adam Lynn: 253-597-8644, @TNTAdam