What names appear on the ballot for Spokane City Council in November is still uncertain, but Tuesday’s primary election results indicate that they will be competitive.
City voters will also, it appears, have a stark contrast in candidates to choose from.
In northeast Spokane, Jonathan Bingle held a commanding lead over two progressive challengers, Naghmana Sherazi and Luc Jasmin III, but they combined for more than half the vote. Sherazi holds a slight lead over Jasmin, with 27% of the vote compared to Jasmin’s 26%.
It’s still unclear who Bingle will face in November – Sherazi’s lead over Jasmin narrowed to just 24 votes when the count was updated on Wednesday – but the eventual second-place winner is poised to stand a fighting chance in the general election.
In northwest Spokane, leader Zack Zappone had 42% of the vote, but there was more space between second-place finisher Mike Lish and the next-closest candidate, Lacrecia (Lu) Hill. Lish earned 30% of the vote, compared to the 13% received by Hill.
Lish trailed Zappone by about 13%. In the November election, Lish will need to win over supporters for Hill and the other two candidates in the primary , Karen Kearney (10%) and Christopher Savage (4%).
Bingle took Tuesday night’s results as an indication that District 1 voters embraced his campaign’s focus on homelessness and public safety. An owner of an events business who pivoted to working as a contractor during the pandemic, Bingle said he would support the city’s police department. He does not support low-barrier shelters, which are free of requirements like sobriety for their guests, and believes many people on the street are “shelter-resistant.”
Challengers Sherazi and Jasmin shared or split numerous endorsements from progressive organizations and elected leaders across the region.
Bingle was given a score of “100% alignment” by We Believe We Vote, a conservative Christian nonprofit that aims to help people “vote consistently according to Biblical truth and Constitutional principles.”
Sherazi is the communications coordinator at Gonzaga University Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion; Bingle wrote that “equity is an enemy of freedom” in his response to a survey from We Believe We Vote.
Zappone and Lish also bring different perspectives to the table.
Lish took over his family business, D. Lish’s Hamburgers. He’s advocated for more funding for the police department and tackling chronic homelessness in partnership with other regional governments. He’s won endorsements from Republican State Reps. Jenny Graham and Mike Volz, as well as a litany of local business leaders.
Zappone is a substitute teacher in public schools and a program manager for Better Health Together who has outlined a “smart growth” approach to the city’s interconnected housing and homelessness issues. He’s been endorsed by numerous labor unions.
The Spokane Association of Realtors saw early success in the primary election; it strongly backed Bingle and Lish. Through its affiliated political groups, the Realtors spent more than $50,000 on independent expenditures in support of each candidate in the primary election, according to Public Disclosure Commission records.
The Realtors’ spending was more than any of the candidates were able to raise individually.
This story was changed on Aug. 5, 2021, to correct a misspelling of Naghmana Sherazi’s name.