Are Incumbent King County Councilmembers Going to Get a Free Ride this Year?

Five King County Council races are up for election this year. Officially filing for these seats is June 1 through June 5, 2009. That is only a month away. And so far according to the Washington State Public Disclosure Commission, the only candidates who have filed with the PDC and who are raising money are the 5 incumbents.

The incumbents are:

Position #1 Bob Ferguson
Position #3 Kathy Lambert
Position #5 Julia Patterson
Position #7 Pete von Reichbauer
Position #9 Reagan Dunn

The current composition of the King County County is 5 Democrats and 4 Republicans. Sure, voters last year passed the Republican sponsored measure to make the seats nonpartisan but that doesn’t change the political stripes of the candidates. All that did was make it harder for voters to know what candidates really stood for. Republicans pushed for the change to make it easier for them to fool voters as to their political allegiances.

Of the incumbents running this year, Bob Ferguson and Julia Patterson are Democrats. Kathy Lambert, Pete von Reichbauer and Reagan Dunn are Republican.

Of the remaining King County Councilmembers not up for election this year, Dow Constantine, Larry Phillips and Larry Gossett are Democrats. Jane Hague is a Republican.

Both Phillips and Constantine are running for King County Executive to fill the seat being vacated by Ron Sims who is going to serve in the Obama Administration as the Deputy Secretary of the US Department of Housing and Human Services. Also running for County Executive are Democrats Ross Hunter and Fred Jarrett. Susan Hutchison is representing the hopes of the Republicans and was a supporter of Mike Huckabee for President last year.

Anyone wanting to run for King County Council this year and challenge the incumbents will have some catching up to do in fundraising. The incumbents are not sitting by doing nothing. Here are the figures for their contributions received followed by their expenditures to date.

Bob Ferguson $76,766 …$51,895
Kathy Lambert $49,458 …$15,875
Julia Patterson $86,825 …$16,803
Pete von Reichbauer $146,210 …$21,135
Reagan Dunn $229,810 …$126,970

Democrats are missing an opportunity to challenge the incumbent Republican candidates by not fielding opposition candidates. You can’t increase the number of Democrats on the King County Council if you don’t challenge the Republicans. Based on the past votes for Democratic Presidential candidates in King County, certainly one of these Republican occupied seats could flip Democratic if a real challenger emerged .

Two years ago Democrats missed an opportunity to pick off a Republican when they didn’t file a candidate to challenge Republican Jane Hague who was arrested on a DUI. It looks like once again 3 Republican King County Councilmembers will go unchallenged.

The Primary this year is August 18, 2009. The General Election is November 3, 2009.

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