Just after 8 p.m. on primary voting night the first batch of election numbers from the Pierce County Auditor’s Office showed Bruce Banfield leading Ron Cronk by 42 votes in the race for Lakewood City Council Position 1. Leslie Swalley was third, trailing Cronk by 89 votes and Banfield by 131 votes. The two candidates with the most votes will advance to the general election in November.
So far, the race for Position 1 has proved the most contentious of the four council positions up for grabs this election. It is the only open seat available as former Mayor Bill Harrison elected not to run for re-election. Allegations of conflict of interest regarding Swalley’s employment as an aide to Pierce County Councilman Dick Muri were leveled by members of Lakewood CARES, a group which Cronk helped found. The group contends that since Muri’s district includes Lakewood, Swalley may have to weigh her future employment against her responsibility to Lakewood citizens when voting on issues that involve both governments. Swalley has said she can use her job with the County Councilman to better serve the citizens of Lakewood as a councilmember.
The next closesest race of the four is for Position 2. Incumbent Pad Finnigan was holding a 584-vote lead over second-place challenger Jason Whalen. Mike Brandsetter was a distant third with 1,100 votes.
Incumbent Councilmember Helen McGovern held a commanding lead with 2,777 votes to Lisa Ikeda’s 1,600 votes and Paul Calta’s 81 votes.
The same pattern held true in the race for Position 5 where incumbent Mayor Doug Richardson had 3,111 votes to J. Paul Wagemann’s 1,500 and Anthony Belford’s 576.
Look for more updates tomorrow.
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