My personal take on local elections

November 13th, 2019 by Ken


Elections are personal for me.  I interviewed most of the candidates running for elective office in Lacey and several running for city council seats in Olympia and for the Port of Olympia.

These are some of my observations.

Lacey City Council candidate Ed Kunkel appears to have pulled off a very slim win over Lynda Zeman.  At the last count, Ed was holding a slim 79 vote lead.  There are a number of reasons for this win.  Ed out-worked Lynda.  He door belled every house in Lacey at least once and in some areas more than once. Lynda door belled far fewer homes.  Ed has his campaign signs out early.  Lynda didn’t get most of her signs up until later in the campaign.

There was also some animosity left over from the previous selection process, when the Lacey City Council showed its favoritism and appointed Lynda to an open seat so she could run as an incumbent.  Several other qualified candidates were available but the council selected Lynda to give her that small advantage.

The closeness of the race was due in part to the fact that 250 more people voted in the race than in the other city council seats up for election this year.   I suspect that most of them went to Lynda, although I have no way of knowing that for certain.

If Ed hangs on to his slim lead, and it looks like he will, he will be the fourth person to hold that seat on the Lacey Council in the last four years.  Jeff Gadman resigned to become county treasurer.     Rachel Young was appointed to fill the seat.  She resigned after a year because of her work load.  Lynda was then appointed.  Her term may have ended with Ed’s victory.

Lenny Greenstein won re-election to his third term on the Lacey Council, despite a strong showing from his opponent Harald Jones.  Lenny had 53 percent of the vote.   The largest vote getter in all of the Lacey races was Malcolm Miller who took 59 percent of the vote in his contest with Sarah Jean Morris.  Malcolm did several mailings and put up many signs.  Sarah did one mailing and put up only four campaign signs.  She said she didn’t like the clutter that campaign signs brought to the community.

All three incumbent North Thurston School Board candidates running this year were re-elected.  Graeme Sackrison had no opponent, while Dave Newkirk had only token opposition.   The biggest race came for the seat held by Gretchen Maliska.  The incumbent was challenged by Jason Noahr, a candidate put up by the teacher’s union.  In his campaign brochure Jason primarily pointed out his endorsements by the various government unions and didn’t talk at all about his views and what he wanted to accomplish.  Gretchen won by 53 percent of the vote.

Olympia mayor Cheryl Selby was re-elected and eliminated one of her biggest critics, when she defeated Nathaniel Jones by an easy margin of 53 percent.

And, in the Port of Olympia race, which signals the county’s viewpoint on economic development and the environment incumbent Port Commission Joe Downing beat his challenger Helen Wheatly with a slim 51 percent of the vote.  Incidentally Helen was the only candidate of all those mentioned above that refused to come on my radio show on the advice of her campaign supporters.  Her appearance on the show might have made the difference – – but we’ll never know.

Did this election signal any significant changes in future local elections?  The answer is still illusive. Women candidates always fare better in Thurston County elections.  This time around Lynda Zeman wasn’t able to hold on to her appointed seat, and Helen Wheatly was unsuccessful in her challenge for a port seat.

We did find out that what wins election is a strong campaign and hard work.  Reflecting the views of your constituency also helps.

Posted in The Real News

(comments are closed).