Just 86 votes separated 2nd from 3rd in council primary

Posted on August 16th, 2022 By:

Paula Lonergan and Robyn Denson are the general election candidates for the Pierce County Council District 7 seat representing the Gig Harbor area.

That is the result that was expected after the first batch of votes was counted on the night of the primary election, Aug. 3. The race for second place in the primary between Lonergan and Joshua Harris ended up being very close, however.

The Pierce County Elections Office released its final count on Tuesday, Aug. 16, the deadline for the primary election to be certified. The general election is on Nov. 8.

Tightly bunched council primary field

Denson, the only Democrat in the field, earned 26,512 votes, 57.86 percent of those cast.

Lonergan finished with 5,529 votes (12.07 percent) to Harris’ 5,443 (11.88 percent). That’s a margin of just 86 votes among the 45,817 cast in the race.

Two other Republicans also were in the field — Mitch Anderson (4,643 votes, 10.13 percent) and Chuck West (3,661, 7.99 percent).

Lonergan, a Tacoma resident and the wife of Pierce County Assessor-Treasurer Mike Lonergan, won on the strength of strong GOP support in her hometown. She finished 477 votes ahead of Harris in Tacoma, according to an analysis of precinct-level voting data available on Pierce County’s website.

Denson and Lonergan

Denson, 47, is a Gig Harbor City Council member. She has raised $118,509 for her campaign, according to the state Public Disclosure Commission, which tracks political spending. She has been endorsed by incumbent Councilman Derek Young, a Democrat, as well as his predecessor, Republican Terry Lee.

Lonergan, 69, worked for 30 years as a human resource and program manager with the state before retiring. She chairs the Pierce County Sheriff’s Civil Service Board and also has served as a Tacoma Human Rights Commission member and Washington State Affordable Housing Advisory Board member. She has raised $27,820 for the campaign.

They will face each other in the Nov. 8 general election for a council seat representing District 7. The district includes Gig Harbor, the Key Peninsula and parts of Tacoma.

Other primary election races

State Sen. Emily Randall (D-Bremerton) will face state Rep. Jesse Young (R-Gig Harbor) in the general election for the Senate seat in the 26th Legislative District. Randall won 25,850 votes districtwide (51.52 percent) versus Young’s 22,257 (44.36 percent). 

Another Republican, David Crissman, also was on the August ballot, though he did not campaign or raise money for the race. Nonetheless, Crissman won 2,031 votes (4.05 percent).

The 26th District includes the Gig Harbor area, the Key Peninsula, South Kitsap County, Port Orchard and some parts of Bremerton.

The two candidates are raising tremendous amount of money for the campaign — $487,809 for Young and $459,505 for Randall. Those are the top two fundraising totals for any legislative candidates in the state this election season.

Both 26th Legislative District House positions also were on the primary ballot. But since those races had only two candidates, both move on to the general election.

The Position 1 matchup between Democrat Adison Richards and Republican Spencer Hutchins could preview a close general election race. Richards won 24,900 votes (50.07 percent), while Hutchins was the pick of 24,787 (49.84). The incumbent, Young, gave up the seat to run for Senate.

In the Position 2 race, incumbent Republican Michelle Caldier won 27,267 votes (54.91 percent). Democratic challenger Matt Macklin trails with 22,303 votes (44.92 percent).

As has been clear since election night, voters who live in the boundaries of Gig Harbor Fire & Medic One overwhelmingly approved the district’s bond request. The bond was approved by 12,933 voters (66.1 percent), with 6,632 (33.9 percent) voting no.

Proceeds from the bond will be used to build a new live-fire training facility and to upgrade GHFMO’s fire stations and other facilities.