Mike Winkler challenging state Rep. Christine Kilduff

Mike Winkler
Mike Winkler Submitted photo

First-term state Rep. Christine Kilduff has her first challenger.

Mike Winkler announced Wednesday he would run as a Republican. Winkler is a retired U.S. Army lieutenant colonel, teacher and former school board member for the Steilacoom Historical School District.

Next year’s race for Pierce County’s 28th District is expected to be a hard-fought one that could help decide control of the state House. It’s a suburban district that includes western Tacoma and Lakewood, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, DuPont, Steilacoom, Fircrest and University Place.

Depending on the results of next week’s special election in another district, Republicans will need to pick up either two or three seats to gain an outright majority in the House.

Democrat Kilduff, a former assistant attorney general and school board member from University Place, is likely to be one of their top targets.

Winkler’s announcement quotes Rep. Dick Muri, R-Steilacoom and the district’s other House member, as saying: “Mike Winkler will be a great representative for our community, because he’s already a leader in the area that matters most, our education system.”

Winkler said funding schools is his top priority, followed by improving the transportation system.

A DuPont resident, he said he became an elementary-school teacher after retiring from the Army in 2004 and now teaches at JBLM’s Beachwood Elementary.