Nine candidates remain in the running for Puyallup’s vacant District 1 council seat after two applicants withdrew their names last night.
Ron Crowe, a former Puyallup councilman and insurance agency owner in Puyallup, dropped out “due to business considerations,” he wrote in a letter to the city.
And Lewis Pugh, Jr., a retiree who frequently attends council meetings, said at Tuesday’s council meeting that he no longer wishes to be considered.
Council members will interview the remaining nine candidates tonight at 7 p.m. and may make a decision this evening. The District 1 seat was formerly occupied by Councilman George Dill, who died in November shortly after winning re-election. (Click “More” to see the list of remaining candidates, as well as a little more detail about the issues facing the city council.)
The remaining candidates are:
-Tony Aho, an admissions official at Pacific Lutheran University;
-Dan Cardwell, a planner for Pierce County;
-David Couch, a teacher;
-Kathy Ferris, a veterinarian;
-William Hilton, a Washington State Patrol captain;
-Robert Lord, a retiree;
-Nicole Martineau, a paraeducator;
-Valerie Offenbecher, an office administrator and former councilwoman;
-Tom Smillie, who is retired on disability.
One issue the council will have to face tonight is whether to consider Aho, who ran against Dill in November and lost by 7 percentage points.
Some citizens at Tuesday’s meeting said that the council should appoint someone with values similar to Dill’s — not someone who campaigned on an opposing platform and lost.
“The objective over the next few days is not to elect someone whose views are in line with the council majority,” said Steve Shores, a resident of District 1. “It is to elect someone who has views most closely in line with George Dill.”
Others said that city officials should choose Aho over the other applicants because he was the only one showed the initiative to actually run for the office.
“At the end of the day, you want someone who stepped up to the plate not when the opportunity presented itself, but during the election,” said Dan Smith, a Puyallup attorney.
Smith said the council used that logic when appointing Rick Hansen to the fill a council vacancy back in January 2008.
In that instance, Hansen had run against Councilwoman Kathy Turner for the council’s at large seat two months before and lost by nine votes. He then applied for the District 2 seat that Turner vacated and was selected over 18 other applicants, including Smith.
Councilman John Knutsen said the situation is different this time because Aho competed directly against Dill and came in second, while Hansen was appointed to a vacant seat that was never subject to a public vote.