Prosser keeps its mayor in office

By Ross Courtney, Yakima Herald-Republic November 9, 2011 

PROSSER -- Prosser is keeping its mayor, Paul Warden, while former police chief Scott Hamilton has handily topped a pack of five candidates for the only contested city council position in Tuesday's unofficial general election results.

In the race for mayor, Warden held a 740-289 lead over challenger Mary Ruth Edwards, giving him 72 percent of the vote.

"People are approving of the direction the city is going," Warden said.

Though Warden credited Edwards for a respectful campaign, he took heat from his opponent for his support of a proposed low-income housing development by Catholic Charities Housing Services earlier this year.

Warden, 58, who has been mayor since 2008, also has asked the council to approve hiring two or three new police officers, perhaps by the end of the year. He works as a real estate agent and a corrections officer.

Edwards, 58, opposed the low-income project, saying city officials did not investigate enough alternatives. She also advocated building up a higher general fund reserve.

Edwards, a Prosser elementary school teacher and leader of the local Constitution Party, ran unsuccessfully in 2008 for the 4th Congressional District seat against Rep. Doc Hastings, R-Pasco, and said she may run for Congress again someday.

In the crowded race for council Pos. 7, Hamilton had 669 votes, or 64 percent.

Trailing him was Tammy McKeirnan with 252 votes, or 24 percent; Debbie Breitenfeldt with 69 votes, or 7 percent; former city councilman Larry Walter with 39 votes, or 4 percent; and Jim Macica with 18 votes, or 2 percent.

Benton County's first candidate filing period in June did not attract any candidates. A special filing period at the end of August hit the jackpot with five.

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