Candidates in a dozen races for seats on Eastside city councils will head to the August primary election.
The continued impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on each city will be a focal point in campaigns. Several cities grappled last year with budget shortfalls as a result of the economic shutdown, and some forecast future deficits.
Rates of people experiencing homelessness have risen, as have real estate and rent costs amid calls for more affordable housing. Public safety and policing have emerged as focuses after last year’s protests and reckoning over police brutality.
In total, across King County, a record 646 candidates filed to run for offices, according to King County Elections. Of those, 217 candidates running for 57 offices will be on the August primary ballot. The rest, with two or fewer candidates, head to the November general election.
There are no Eastside mayoral races in the primary for cities where voters elect a mayor. Bellevue, Kenmore, Bothell, Newcastle, Sammamish and Mercer Island city council members choose a mayor and deputy mayor among themselves every two years.
In Bellevue, three candidates are challenging incumbent Conrad Lee, who has served on the City Council for 27 years, for the Position 2 seat. Lee has raised $84,00, more than any other candidate in any race outside Seattle, and among the top 10 highest amount raised by any municipal candidate.
The three challengers are Dexter Borbe, who owns and operates a home-health care and nurse-staffing agency, Christie Sanam Lo, an Amazon program manager, and Johan Christensen, a writer.
Three candidates are running for the open Bothell City Council Position 5 seat, which is being vacated by Mayor Liam Olsen. They are Galen Altavas, who retired from Snohomish County Public Utility District in 2017, Matt Kuehn, a legislative aide in the Washington House of Representatives, and Ben Mahnkey, an employee relations-investigations manager at Amazon. Mahnkey has raised $7,046, and Kuehn has raised $3,380.
In the race for Issaquah City Council Position 5, Rose Zibrat, a software engineer, Russell Joe, municipal-relationship manager at Republic Services, and Jason Voiss, a general contractor, are running to replace Stacy Goodman, who announced in February she wouldn’t seek reelection.
The Kenmore City Council has two races in the primary. Abby London, a pop singer-songwriter and piano teacher, and Bob Black are challenging incumbent Nigel G. Herbig, Kenmore’s deputy mayor, for Position 4. Herbig has raised $1,692. Incumbent Debra Srebnik, who was elected in 2017, is running against Stacey (Sam) Valenzuela, a retired sales representative, and Jon Culver, a technologist, for Position 6.
Mercer Island incumbent Lisa Anderl, appointed to the City Council in 2018 and elected in 2019, is running against Adam Ragheb, an aerospace-systems engineer, and Kate Akyuz, senior capital project manager with the King County River and Floodplain Management Section, for the Position 6 seat. Anderl has raised $11,750, and Akyuz has raised $11,111.
In Redmond, Jackson Fields, a barista, Dennis Ellis, a financial analyst, and Melissa Stuart, the director of individual giving for the Boys & Girls Clubs of King County, are running for the Position 4 seat currently held by Tanika Padhye. Fields is the son of Redmond City Councilmember Steve Fields, who holds the Position 2 seat.
Amy Lam, Tarik Hassane, a Microsoft program manager, and Josh Amato, a Sammamish planning commissioner and small business owner, are running for Sammamish City Council Position 1, currently held by Tom Odell, who was appointed to the seat after Jason Ritchie resigned in January. Amato has raised $20,350.
In Newcastle, Jesse Tam, Chris Villasenor and Robert Clark are running for the open Position 7 seat being vacated by Tom Magers.
In Clyde Hill, John Schwager, Dean Hachamovitch and Sandy Edpao are running for the Position 5 seat vacated by Bruce Dodds. In the Town of Yarrow Point, Kathy Smith and Avi Belur are challenging incumbent Steve Bush for Position 5.