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Breakdown of City Council races in West Pierce County

Post by Christian Hill / The News Tribune on May 18, 2013 at 9:30 am with No Comments »
May 17, 2013 7:08 pm

Here’s the rundown of how the city council races in communities in west Pierce County shape up after Friday’s deadline for filing week.


Four candidates filed to run for the lone open seat on the Lakewood City Council, while the three incumbents up for election remain unchallenged.

Don Daniels, chairman of the city Planning Advisory Board; Ria Johnson, a social worker; Bryan Thomas, chairman of the city Public Safety Advisory Committee; and John Simpson, a history teacher at Pierce County, all put their name in for the Position 5 seat.

They all applied for appointment to the seat that former Mayor Doug Richardson vacated when he joined the Pierce County Council earlier this year. The council appointed Helen McGovern, who previously served on the council. She said she would not seek election to the seat.

Thomas is the son of former Lakewood city councilwoman Claudia Thomas, who was the state’s first black female mayor. Simpson was temporarily appointed to the council in 2003 when Richardson was called to military service.

No one filed to run against council members Mike Brandstetter, Mary Moss and Jason Whalen, who are in line to win their second four-year terms barring serious write-in campaigns.

University Place

University Place Mayor Ken Grassi filed to run for his fifth four-year term.

Grassi, the last remaining member of the original council that was seated shortly before University Place became a city in 1995, drew a challenge from Carl Mollnow, who has unsuccessfully run for a council seat in three consecutive elections.

Councilman Javier Figueroa drew a challenge from Frank Boykin Jr., a member of the city planning commission. Steve Worthington, Fife’s former city manager, is running against Councilman Eric Choiniere. Councilwoman Denise McCluskey is running unopposed.

Worthington said he has lived in UP since 1999 and his wife, Jill, recently retired from the University Place School District.

“Really working on the policy side is going to be intriguing for me,” Worthington said. “I’d like to think I can bring something to the table.”

Worthington served as Fife’s city manager from 1998 to 2011.

Gig Harbor

The waterfront city will have its first new mayor in eight years.

Councilwoman Jill Guernsey was the only candidate to file to succeed Mayor Chuck Hunter, who will leave office at the end of the year.

Jim Hagman, who own runs a computer repair store, is challenging incumbent Steven Ekberg.

Tacoma attorney Casey Arbenz is the lone candidate to file to run for the seat being vacated by Councilman Derek Young. Young was first elected in 1997 at age 21.

Council members Tim Payne and Paul Kadzik are running unopposed for new terms.


All heck has broken out in the southern Pierce County city.

All four seats up for election drew contested races and one of them drew three candidates, ensuring a primary race.

It’s the first time DuPont has had a primary election since 2009, and the first time in at least 12 years that all seats up for election have been contested, City Clerk Erin Larsen said.

Three of the challengers and incumbent Councilman Roger Westman are associated with Take Back DuPont, a citizens group that vowed to shake up this year’s elections.

The group has been critical of the financial plan for DuPont’s civic center that they say is squeezing the city’s budget as well as recent cuts that came as a result of last year’s failure of a tax measure.

“A lot of people are unhappy about the whole situation,,” TBD member Laurie Fait.

Westman, a TBD member, is being challenged by John Hall.

Councilwoman Linda Jordan will seek a full-four year term against challenger Shawna Gasak, a TBD member. Jordan was appointed to the seat that Mayor Michael Grayum vacated when he became mayor.

Councilman John Ehrenreich will face off against Fait and Michael Gorski, a vocal critic of the city’s financial decisions.

Eric Corp, who along with Fait sought the appointment to Grayum’s former seat, and TBD member Andy Estep will run for the seat held by Larry Wilcox, who is not seeking re-election after 8 years.


All four incumbents up for election drew contested races.

Kathy Owens, a landscape architect, will challenge Councilman Matthew Jolibois; newcomer Shannon Reynolds will face Councilwoman Chris Gruver; Dorothy Cottrill will run against Councilman Denny Waltier; and Jason Medley will go up against Councilwoman Kathy McVay.


Mayor Ron Lucas will run unopposed for a fourth four-year term. Two incumbents, Marion Smith and Steven Stovall, also will run unopposed. Councilman Lowell Bier did not run again, and the lone candidate Pete Franklin appears assured the seat barring a serious write-in campaign.

You’re invited to follow Christian Hill on Twitter @TNTchill.

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