Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Pierce County Executive - The Republicans

This is the first in a series of three postings on the 2008 Pierce County Executive race. This posting covers the Republican candidates. The second posting will cover the Democratic candidates and potential candidates. The third will cover the independent and Libertarian potential candidates.

For more information about the County Executive race, see here.

In the first Instant Runoff contest in the state of Washington, the Republicans promise to have two very solid candidates in the race: Pierce County Councilmembers Shawn Bunney and Terry Lee. We begin by outlining the backgrounds of the two candidates. Then we go on to discuss the potential strategies of the two candidates given the IRV nature of the race.

Shawn Bunney represents the 1st County Council District which covers eastern Pierce County. Bunney was just re-elected for a second term with no opposition. Bunney raised a fair amount of money which he plans to roll over into a County Executive campaign since he did not have to spend any money in 2006.

Bunney has the advantage of a free ride in 2008. If he loses, he will continue to have a job being on the County Council. Bunney is popular in his district, but has never run for a countywide position, thus he has limited countywide name recognition at this point. However, he was Chair of the County Council last year and received some name recognition for that.

Terry Lee represents the 7th County Council District which includes Gig Harbor and University Place. Lee was just re-elected in 2006 without opposition. We don't know much about Lee's fundraising capability.

Lee, also, has the advantage of a free ride in 2008 since his County Council term extends to 2010. In January, 2007, Lee was selected County Council Chair and will likely get some name recognition from that.

Lee is very well liked in the 7th District, but has never run for countywide office before. Attaining countywide name recognition will be a task for Lee's campaign.

For a Republican to win the County Executive race, he will have to win a majority of votes in both the 1st and 7th County Council Districts. Having a strong candidate from each of those districts can only help the Republicans.

My guess is that Bunney's second favorite candidate in the race will be Lee and vice versa. Considering that each of them has a free ride in this race, it makes quite a bit of sense for both of them to run. One can even imagine Bunney and Lee sending out joint campaign mailers to save money. One should not expect much negative campaigning between the two of these candidates. Reagan's commandment "Thou shalt not speak ill of another Republican" will probably be obeyed in this race.



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