The crowd of Democrats in a Hotel Murano ballroom Tuesday night cheered loudly as a network reporter on a big screen television announced that President Barack Obama had wrapped up enough electoral votes for re-election. “The polls are closing and America is winning,” Tacoma City Councilmember Ryan Mello said from the podium in the corner. State Senator Derek Kilmer, a Democrat, will replace retiring Norm Dicks for the 6th Congressional District seat. He handily defeated Republican Bill Driscoll, who was making his first run for elected office. In the Pierce County part of the district, Kilmer has 63.4 percent of the vote at press time. Democrat Adam Smith will continue to represent part of Tacoma in the 9th District. He easily defeated Republic Jim Postma, with 61.2 percent of the county vote. County Executive Pat McCarthy has won a second term. The Tacoma Democrat took 64 percent against her independent challenger Bruce Minker.
It appears Mike Lonergan will be the next county assessor/treasurer. The former Tacoma City Council member has 60.6 of the vote against his opponent Billie O’Brien. Republican Joyce McDonald will continue to serve on Pierce County Council representing District 2, which includes Northeast Tacoma. She has 68.2 percent against her challenger Edgewood Mayor Jeff Hogan. In District 4, which covers much of the city, the seat is being vacated by Democrat Tim Farrell due to term limits. He will be replaced by Democrat Connie Ladenburg. She has served two years in the State House of Representatives. Prior to that she was on Tacoma City Council for eight years. She has 64 percent against her Republican opponent, University Place Mayor Ken Grassi. “I am anxious to move our county forward,” Ladenburg said. She credits a strong campaign, with considerable doorbelling, for her victory. She also praised her many volunteers. “I could not have done it without them.” County Charter Amendment 40 was approved by 67.3 percent of voters. It will require five of the seven Pierce County Council members to vote in favor of tax increases.
One issue that is too close to call is Proposition 1, the Pierce Transit sales tax increase. At press time it had 53,696 votes against and 52,190 votes in favor. A closely watched race was for the Senate seat in the 27th Legislative District. Incumbent Debbie Regala did not run for another term. State Representative Jeannie Darneille faced attorney Jack Connelly, who poured almost $1 million on his own money into the campaign. Both ran as Democrats. Connelly ran television commercials and sent numerous mailers, many attacking Darneille’s 12-year voting record in the House and painting her as soft on crime. Darneille has 57.2 percent of the vote. “Voters appreciate the work I have done in the Legislature,” she remarked. She said Tacoma voters were not swayed by the money Connelly spent, which shattered records for a state legislative race. Darneille said she thinks her opponent has a sincere desire to represent the district. She feels voters were turned off by the negative tone his campaign took. “It is important to listen to your advisors. Mine said to be positive.”
Incumbent Laurie Jinkins, a Democrat, coasted to re-election in the Position 1 House seat for the district, taking 71.3 percent against Republican Steve Cook. The race to replace Darneille in Position 2 was expected to be competitive. Jake Fey and Lauren Walker, both Democrats who serve on Tacoma City Council, were on the ballot in the primary. Fey had a slight edge in the August election. In the general he pulled away, taking 62.7 percent. In the 29th District, incumbent Steve Kirby ran unopposed. The race for the other seat was to replace Ladenburg. Democrat David Sawyer took 63 percent against Republican Terry Harder. Election results are not official until they are certified on Nov. 27.