Puyallup Herald

No recount in tight Puyallup City Council primary race

Incumbent Robin Farris and Curtis Thiel are the likely candidates for Puyallup’s tight City Council primary race after Matt Cuyle decided not to call for a recount.

Farris leads with 42 percent support in the District 1 race. Challengers Thiel and Cuyle are tied at 28 percent. Thiel was ahead of Cuyle by eight votes as of Wednesday’s count by the Pierce County Auditor’s Office.

State law says if two candidates totals are separated by less than one half of a percent, the ballots must be recounted manually. But Thiel and Cuyle are separated by .69 percent, so the race will not be recounted automatically, the county’s elections manager Mike Rooney said.

Cuyle said the process is fair and honest, and he doesn’t need to question it.

“If it’s more than half a point, I trust the process,” he said. “I don’t need to shake the process to get a vote out of it.”

The Puyallup primary race saw a higher voter turnout than most other Pierce County races at more than 25 percent with 2,037 ballots cast.

Farris and either Thiel or Cuyle will vie for the seat in November, along with Mayor John Palmer and Paul Herrera in District 2, Ned Witting and Curt Gimmestad in District 3, and Incumbent Dean Johnson and Heather Shadko for the At-Large position.

Farris is running for a second term. She wants to continue addressing the homelessness crisis and the overall efficiency of the council. She does not support the New Hope Resource Center in its current location but believes there should be a continuum of care within the city limits.

Cuyle also does not support New Hope, which provides daytime services to the homeless, and wants it shut down entirely. He would see more programs like the contract with the Salvation Army, where the city leases beds for those experiencing homelessness at Tacoma’s Salvation Army.

Thiel’s platform focuses on making neighborhoods safe again and calling out the city for “litigating it’s way” through the homelessness crisis.

Puyallup School Board

Voters also chose Michael Keaton and Amanda Cuthbert to compete in November for one of the three Puyallup School District seats up for grabs this year.

Keaton, who currently holds the position, wants to continue to shape projects, like building a new elementary school and modernizing and redeveloping the four high schools. He was on the board while the teachers went on strike for a higher pay last year.

Cuthbert, the board secretary for Washington Childcare Centers Association, is running on a platform to bridge the gap between teachers and the board.

Josephine Peterson covers Pierce County and Puyallup for The News Tribune and The Puyallup Herald. She previously worked at The News Journal in Delaware as the crime reporter and interned at The Washington Post.