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Jonathan Bingle wins Spokane City Council seat; Zappone leading race against Lish

Nov. 2, 2021 Updated Tue., Nov. 2, 2021 at 9:55 p.m.

The Spokane City Council will gain a new conservative voice next year with the election Tuesday of Jonathan Bingle in northeast Spokane.

Bingle, a small business owner and former pastor, won 57% of the vote, defeating Naghmana Sherazi.

Meanwhile, in the district representing northwest Spokane, teacher Zack Zappone had 52% of the vote Tuesday evening over businessman Mike Lish. The lead is significant, but counting will continue for most of the week. If Zappone holds on, he will replace Candace Mumm.

Betsy Wilkerson was unopposed and cruised to victory, securing her first full term on the City Council in District 2.

Bingle took Tuesday’s results as evidence that his platform resonated with voters. He promised to prioritize public safety, the creation of affordable and attainable housing, and bringing good jobs into northeast Spokane. He will replace Kate Burke, a progressive who opted not to run for a second term.

“Now it’s time to really get after it. I’m both really excited and I realize the mountain that’s ahead of me,” Bingle told The Spokesman-Review.

Zappone called himself the underdog in the race given the record-setting amount of support his opponent received.

“But we’re ahead tonight,” he said. “We’re making a statement.”

Voters should be concerned about the amount of outside funding, he said, but to see him ahead was a “good sign for the future of Spokane.”

Lish is holding on to hope and waiting for more votes to be tallied.

Homelessness, public safety and climate change were key issues in each of the two contested races.

Zappone was castigated by conservatives and their allies for failing to support the police department.

Political ads and mailers accused Zappone of wanting to defund the police department, noting that he signed a pledge last year that included a call to redirect police department resources toward community-based alternatives.

Zappone fought back, labeling the attacks as “fear mongering.” He does not want to defund the police department, he said, but rather “evolve” the public safety system to include more resources, like mental health specialists, so officers can “do their jobs.”

Lish touted his experience operating D. Lish’s Hamburgers, but Zappone argued that Lish lacked the knowledge and ideas necessary to serve on the City Council. Zappone highlighted his deep roots in northwest Spokane and career as an educator.

Bingle accused Sherazi of supporting an effort to ban natural gas in Spokane, which Sherazi denied. However, she remained adamant that the city should look at alternatives to natural gas in its efforts to address climate change.

When it comes to homelessness, Bingle stressed that it is a “human issue,” not a housing issue. He delineated between those who are temporarily homeless and those who are chronically homeless, who he argued are “overwhelmingly mentally ill and addicted.” He suggested that those receiving services from the city should be forced to work.

Sherazi supported the opening of more low-barrier shelters and additional protections for tenants.


The resources poured into each campaign starkly differed.

Independent groups, led by the Spokane Association of Realtors’ affiliated political groups and the Spokane Good Government Alliance – offered massive support to Bingle’s and Lish’s campaigns.

Money spent in support of Lish’s campaign – both by the campaign itself and independent groups – outpaced that of Zappone’s campaign by more than a four-to-one margin, according to Public Disclosure Commission filings.

The independent support for Lish totaled $200,000 as of Tuesday morning, in addition to $51,000 of independent money spent against Zappone.

In northeast Spokane, the gap is not as severe but remains clear

Spending behind Bingle has totaled $191,000 to $78,000 for Sherazi.

Wilkerson ran unopposed because her apparent opponent, Tyler LeMasters, was booted from the ballot after his residency in the district was challenged.

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