The official campaign season has descended over the populace, which means a free crop of street signs will soon bloom on city streets and political mailers will blossom in mailboxes as candidates vie for your votes as they head into the Aug. 7 primary and then dash to the general election on Nov. 7.
Candidates for partisan office may state a political party that he or she prefers, but that preference does not indicate any endorsement by that party. The two candidates who receive the greatest number of votes cast will advance to the General Election ballot regardless of party preferences.
Since it is an even year, voters will determine their partisan elected officials in county, state and federal races, while Tacomans will have to wait until next year to cast their ballots for non-partisan officials to represent them on the Tacoma Public Schools Board, Tacoma City Council and the Port of Tacoma.
The most interesting campaign to watch this campaign season will most certainly be that for Pierce County Prosecutor. The race pits the polarizing incumbent, Mark Lindquist, a Democrat, against his former deputy and friend Mary Robnett, who declares no party affiliation. The primary election essentially serves as a mid-way poll for that race since both Lindquist and Robnett will automatically move on to the general election in November. Lindquist prefers the Democratic party, and Robnett is an independent.
The only other county-wide race is that for Pierce County Auditor, with incumbent Julie Anderson running unopposed to serve a third term before Democrat is term limited out of office. Because the race lacked a challenger, Anderson’s name won’t appear on the primary ballot, however.
Two of the three seats on the County Council up for election this year involve council districts that touch Tacoma. Council Councilman Rick Talbert is term limited from running for reelection, making way for an open seat for his District 5 seat that represents East Tacoma and South Tacoma as well as Parkland, Spanaway and Midland.
The open seat drew three candidates, former City Councilmember Marty Campbell, local community activist Suzanne Skaar, both Democrats, and Republican Justin Van Dyk, who was one of the 55 applicants to apply for the City Council seat Victoria Woodards vacated to focus on her bid for mayor.
The race for County Council District 7, which includes West Tacoma and Gig Harbor pits incumbent Democrat Derek Young against challenger Peninsula School Board member David Olson, a Republican.
All of the three State Legislative Districts touching Tacoma have races on the ballot.
The historically liberal leaning 27th District, which includes downtown Tacoma, the Northend, the Eastside and Browns Point has incumbent Democrat Laurie Jinkins against Republican security consultant Kyle Paskewitz for Position 1, while incumbent Democrat Jake Fey against Independent Donald Golden for Position 2.
The politically split 28th District that includes parts of West Tacoma along with Lakewood, University Place and Steilacoom has Democrat Mari Leavitt challenging incumbent Republican Dick Muri vying for Position 1, while Democrat incumbent Christine Kilduff being challenged by Republican Maia Espinoza for Position 2.
Legislative District 29, which includes parts of South Tacoma as well as Parkland and Spanaway has long-term Democratic Sen. Steve Conway challenged by Independent Pierre Malebranche. Democrat Steve Kirby is running unopposed to retain is Position 2 seat in the House.
The 29th District also has a race to watch as the incumbent Democrat David Sawyer faces multiple challenges, from Republicans Terry Harder and Janis Clark as well as Democrat Melanie Morgan, largely fueled by a cloud of controversy around Sawyer over alleged misconduct allegations against him by former campaign staffers and lobbyists that is currently under investigation.
Dates to watch:
June 23: Overseas and military ballots for the Primary Election are mailed
July 7: Last day for mail-in or online registrations and address changes for Primary Election
July 12: Local voter pamphlets mailed.
July 20: Local ballots mailed. Accessible voting units available at Pierce County Election Center for July 30 Deadline for in-person registration for Primary Election
Aug. 7: PRIMARY ELECTION
Aug. 21: Certification of Primary Election