Primary voters embraced Spokane City Council incumbents over charges of groupthink on Tuesday.
Breean Beggs and Candace Mumm both coasted to easy victories in primary challenges painting them as members of an overwhelmingly left-leaning City Council. In the northeast district, Kate Burke, a legislative aide to a Democrat in Olympia, will square off against former GOP legislative candidate Tim Benn in the only district without a sitting council member on the ballot.
Beggs earned 54 percent of primary votes cast in Spokane’s third district, which encompasses the South Hill. The attorney and recent appointee to the council held a 31-percent lead over his closest competitor, Andy Dunau, whom he’ll face in the November election.
“I’ve been interviewing for this job for a year and half,” Beggs said. “It’s really great to get the affirmation that my constituents are happy with the work I’m doing.”
Dunau, who cast himself as a centrist in the three-way contest that also included Tony Kiepe and Bruce Vonada, said he believed his emphasis on consensus-building would help make up the gap in the general election.
“I think we just got started here,” Dunau, a communications consultant, said. “(Beggs) had incumbency and he’s got money. We’ve got a message, and I’ll take message all the way to November.”
Dunau hinted that he’d continue criticism of Beggs’ work on an initiative fining coal and oil trains through downtown. Beggs said he believed his constituency overwhelmingly supported the measure and wouldn’t hurt his chances in November’s contest.
Dunau led Kiepe by 503 votes after ballots were tabulated Tuesday night. Vonada raised no money and finished a distant fourth in the votes tallied Tuesday night.
Mumm, Howes advance in northwest Spokane
Like Beggs, Mumm faced primary challengers criticizing her participation on a panel they said was out-of-touch with businesses.
Mumm experienced similar success despite those charges, garnering 53.5 percent of the primary vote.
“I’m excited to know who I’m running against, and I think we’ll have a good, clean race,” said Mumm, who was first elected to the City Council in 2013.
Matthew Howes, owner of Adelo’s Pizza, Pasta & Pints, will face Mumm in the general election after besting Brian Burrow, who was behind by a little more than 1,000 votes in first returns posted Tuesday night.
Howes is running for office for the first time. He received a dual endorsement from the Spokane Home Builders Association along with Burrow, as well as financial support from City Councilman Mike Fagan and Republican Spokane County officeholders, including Treasurer Rob Chase and Commissioner Josh Kerns. He could not be reached for comment Tuesday night.
Burke, Benn forwarded in northeast Spokane
Less than 300 votes separated Kate Burke and Tim Benn to fill the seat that will be vacated by Amber Waldref at the end of this year.
Burke led with 1,822 votes to Benn’s 1,528. Recent Spokane transplant Kathryn Alexander was in third with 779 votes.
“People are just concerned about northeast Spokane getting a fair share of the pie,” said Burke, a legislative aide to state Sen. Andy Billig, D-Spokane.
Benn will seek to join his radio colleague Fagan on the City Council, which he said has lost its focus on city issues under current leadership. He hoped for a higher turnout in the general election.
“I’m just hoping that voters aren’t disenfranchised with all the chaos in politics. The state level not getting their job done, the federal level not getting the job done,” said Benn, who has previously run for state office as a member of the GOP.
Burke said she anticipated the race would come down to “certain issues at the city level that are partisan.” She’s stated she doesn’t believe residents of the district could handle tax increases for more services.
Benn noted he hadn’t spent or raised as much money as Burke, who’s already built up contributions totaling a little more than $30,000. Benn has raised just over $13,000.
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