Primary election results signal big turnover in Burien council
There could be at least three new Burien City Council members in January if Aug. 6 primary election results are a good indication.
In results as of Wednesday evening, Aug. 7, challenger Lauren Berkowitz was garnering a majority of the votes against Councilmember Jack Block Jr. and Kip Walton.
Former Burien mayor Joan McGilton was in a dead-heat with council critic Debi Wagner for McGilton’s council seat.
In the race for Mayor Brian Bennett’s council seat, newcomer Steve Armstrong had a healthy lead over planning commissioner Joey Martinez and Chuck Rangel. Rangel has also been very critical of the council majority. Bennett did not seek re-election.
In SeaTac, councilmember Rick Forschler had a small lead over challenger Kathryn Campbell. The third candidate, Othman Heibe was eliminated from the general election race.
Appointed councilmember Jeremy Nutting had a substantial lead over law-and-order candidate James Payne in Des Moines.
The top two vote getters in each race will continue on to the Nov. 5 general election.
For Block’s Burien council seat, Berkowitz received 51 percent, 2,541 votes; Block 42 percent, 2,101 votes; and Walton, 6 percent, 285 votes.
The council majority censured Block earlier this year for a Christmas-time private Facebook posting of a scantily attired young woman. Berkowitz was among those who complained to the council about the posting.
Also during the primary campaign, the Berkowitz campaign accused Block of running up exorbitant travel expenses during his two terms. For good measure, the Berkowitz campaign released a photo of Block posing with two Arizona Cardinals cheerleaders at a National League of Cities conference. Block responded that the expenses were for legitimate training and lobbying sessions.
Block has often aligned with Deputy Mayor Lucy Krakowiak and Councilmember Bob Edgar in opposing the council majority of Bennett, McGilton, Rose Clark and Gerald Robison. Clark will face Nancy Tosta in the general election.
In the four-way race for McGilton’s seat, McGilton received 33 percent, 1,628 votes; Wagner, also 33 percent, 1,617 votes; Andrea H. Reay, 23 percent, 1,140 votes and Robert L. Richmond, 11 percent, 559 votes. It appears that McGilton and Wagner will face each other in the general election.
McGilton served three terms as mayor but this year has missed several council meetings because of health issues and did not put out campaign signs during the primary.
Whether Wagner will pick up the anti-council majority vote from Reay’s supporters is unclear.
In the primary, Reay’s campaign filed a state Public Disclosure Commission complaint against Wagner over campaign finance reporting while Wagner criticized Reay’s use of a campaign consultant.
In the race to take Bennett’s vacated seat, Armstrong received 49 percent, 2,457 votes; Martinez received 28 percent, 1,410 votes and Rangel received 22 percent, 1,090 votes. It looks like Armstrong and Martinez will go on to the November election.
In SeaTac, incumbent Forschler picked up 47 percent of the primary vote with 1,023 votes. Campbell received 40 percent, 871 votes. Heibe came in third with 13 percent, 290 votes.
Forschler is among the SeaTac council minority along with Council members Pam Fernald and Terry Anderson. Mayor Tony Anderson, Deputy Mayor Mia Gregerson, Councilmember Barry Ladenburg and Councilmember Dave Bush often vote together.
Along with Forschler, Fernald and Tony Anderson are up for re-election in the general election. Joe Van opposes Fernald while Tony Anderson is unopposed.
SeaTac’s general election is commanding wide attention because of a measure on the ballot that would guarantee some airport workers a $15 an hour minimum wage. Campaign spending is expected to be very high.
In Des Moines, Nutting far outpolled his November opponent, Payne. Nutting received 56 percent of the total with 2,065 votes. Payne garnered 35 percent, 1,284. Chuck Swesey received 9 percent, 339 votes.
Swesey, who wrote in his Highline Times candidate questionnaire, “Frankly, I don’t particularly want the job” will get his wish.
Des Moines voters apparently have rejected a utility tax increase. Fifty-four percent (2,221 votes) voted against the measure while 46 percent (1,923 votes) voted for it. The proposed proposition increased the Des Moines’ utility occupation tax to pave existing city streets.
In Water District 49, incumbent David G. Lutz received 54 percent, 844 votes; Roger Gee received 28 percent, 434 votes and John Levich received 17 percent, 267 votes. Lutz and Gee will face each other in the November election.
Long-time incumbent Tukwila School board member Mary E. Fertakis picked up 55 percent, 590 votes and will run against Jennifer Johnson, who received 31 percent, 331 votes, in the general election.
King County Elections will update the results until the primary election is certified on Aug. 20.