University Place Mayor Ken Grassi‘s announcement that he will run for the Pierce County Council means two sitting UP council members will face off during the August primary.
Councilman Chris Nye announced in January, shortly after starting his four-year term on the University Place City Council, that he would run for the District 4 seat on the county council, which covers Fircrest, UP and downtown Tacoma.
Both are running as Republicans. Running on the Democratic side are state Rep. Connie Ladenburg and Tacoma Realtor Sharon Benson. Filing week concludes Friday so one or more candidates could join the race.
Grassi said running against a friend and colleague “weighed heavily on my mind,” but he’d been considering making his first bid for higher office for two years.
He said the district leans Democratic, but that he will be aided by his familiarity with it. Grassi, 56, is the last remaining member of the original council seated when UP became a city in 1995. He owns a boutique and cafe in downtown Tacoma.
Grassi said he announced his decision to his fellow council members in an e-mail Friday. Nye called him Monday, and the two plan to get together for lunch.
Grassi was confident he and Nye can continue to work well together on the council even if they’re competitors off of it.
“I certainly won’t let it (the campaign) get dirty, and I know he won’t,” Grassi said.
Nye said he heard through the grapevine Grassi was considering running for the same seat so the announcement wasn’t a total surprise.
Nye said they’re both are professionals and able to keep their campaigns from affecting their council relationship.
“We’ve got a good working relationship and we will continue to prioritize the city’s business,” he said.
Three of the seven UP council members are now seeking higher office. Councilman Eric Choiniere is running for a state House seat.
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