Tacoma voters have spoken: transportation advocate new face on City Council

Kristina Walker is leading John O’Loughlin in the race to represent all Tacoma residents on City Council, early election results show.

Walker, a transportation advocate and executive director of Downtown on the Go, had 56.46 percent of the vote as of Tuesday night and is shaping up to be the new face on Tacoma City Council.

“I’m feeling great, it feels like a real solid lead,” Walker told The News Tribune. “We ran a campaign that was about reaching out to all people and building a Tacoma for all people.”

O’Loughlin, former city environmental services director, had 42.89 percent of the votes.

“I don’t have any plans for my future other than that I’m going to spend more time with my granddaughter,” O’Loughlin told The News Tribune. “... I am so proud of everyone that has supported this campaign. We got out and talked with Tacoma voters, and it was truly a grassroots campaign.”

Both candidates were vying for the At Large Position 8 seat, currently held by Council member Ryan Mello. His term is up at the end of the year.

Incumbent and attorney Conor McCarthy had a clear lead to represent Tacoma in the At Large Position 7 seat, who secured 71.77 percent of the vote.

“Thank you Tacoma voters for your confidence and support,” McCarthy said in a statement. “I will continue to work hard to make our City a better place to raise a family, get an education, build a business and and a career and retire. Working together in earnest we will build a bright future for all our children.”

His opponent, activist and metalsmith assistant Courtney Love, drew in 27.46 percent of the vote.

“I look forward to applying what I’ve learned through this process, continuing to organize at the grassroots level, and ensuring progressive candidates have the skilled support they need to run in future elections. The revolution continues,” Love said.

In Central Tacoma and Hilltop, voters kept incumbent and political consultant Keith Blocker in the District 3 seat with a comfortable lead of 62.55 percent of the vote.

“They want to continue to see me serve this community,” Blocker said about the outcome. “It’s always been an honor to serve and to be reelected speaks to not only my work, but my colleagues’ work.”

Blocker’s opponent, Hilltop business owner David Combs, tallied 36.32 percent of the vote. He said he plans on continuing his work in the community.

“I’ve been telling people no matter the result is, there’s going to be work to be done,” Combs told The News Tribune. “One path would have been an easier path to go down than the other one, but no matter what the work has to be done.”

In northwest Tacoma, Tacoma Public Schools instructional facilitator John Hines was winning the District 1 race with 54.96 percent of the vote. He’ll be another new face on City Council.

It’s as good as we had hoped for,” Hines told The News Tribune. “My campaign was about getting out, knocking on doors, talking to voters about their concerns, and think that showed in the results.”

Also vying for the District 1 seat, Nathe Lawver, political director and community liaison for Laborers Local 252, had 44.72 percent of the vote.

“Not all the ballots are in,” Lawver told The News Tribune. “It’s the first round, and we’re very patient.”

The District 1 seat is currently held by Council member Anders Ibsen, whose term is up at the end of the year.

As of Tuesday night, 20,380 (16.78 percent) of Tacoma’s 121,442 registered voters had submitted ballots.

Tuesday evening, Tacoma voters dropping off their ballots shared with The News Tribune what they took into account while voting.

Ceaca Serano is a small business owner and voted because tax increases are worrisome to her. The Tacoma resident said she voted to put people in where they were going to make the city safer and cleaner.

“As an African American, you have to vote for your community and the betterment of it,” Serano said.

Russ Ratliff of Tacoma said he didn’t feel that any of the City Council candidates represented his views. He wanted a candidate who prioritizes law enforcement and safe streets. Ratliff said he believes the city has done little to address issues the homeless population has brought, including litter and waste build-up.

“I don’t think they pay enough attention to the issues of the transients,” Ratliff said.

Staff writer Josephine Peterson and PLU students Sarah Ward, Hallie Harper and Raven Lirio contributed to this report.
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