Sharon Brown to face 2 challengers

By Geoff Folsom, Tri-City HeraldMay 17, 2013 

Editor's note: Corrected to fix port candidate's name.

City councilmen from Richland and West Richland will challenge state Sen. Sharon Brown, herself a former Kennewick city councilwoman.

Brown will face Phillip Lemley of Richland and Tony Benegas of West Richland in an Aug. 6 Republican primary. The top two finishers will advance to the Nov. 5 general election.

Both men point to extensive community involvement as a reason they are entering the race against Brown, who is trying to fill out the second and last year of the term of Jerome Delvin, who left the legislature after being elected a Benton County commissioner.

"I know the issues here -- jobs, the economy," said Benegas, 52, the owner of an engineering company. "I've got a small business; the sequester has hit us hard. I hate it when old friends and colleagues call asking for work. We need somebody to show them the way."

Lemley, 71, said politics has become about money, power and influence.

"I don't have any of that," the retired Bechtel National employee said. "I'm just an ordinary guy trying to give back to my community."

Benegas criticized Brown's appointment by county commissioners, saying only 10 percent of such appointees go on to win elections.

"We don't like our decisions made for us by people in a small smoke-filled backroom," he said.

Lemley said he has different priorities than Brown.

"My main priority is the men, women and children of the 8th District," he said. "I want everybody to have a job, make a living wage, have reasonable health care, that's just basic needs. ... Every year our (state) revenue continues to go up and we still can't find a way to balance a budget."

In a statement, Brown touts her endorsements from Delvin and all 22 fellow Republican state senators.

"Representing the citizens of the Tri-Cities and Benton County in the State Legislature is a tremendous privilege and honor," Brown said. "Tri-Citians can count on me to fight against higher taxes, tackle Hanford issues and promote job growth in the region."

Judgeships

John Gary Metro of Kennewick joined the race to fill the unexpired Court of Appeals Division 3, District 2 term against Terry J. Bloor and George Fearing.

Since no one else entered the race for the Benton Franklin Superior Court, Judge Sal Mendoza Jr., who was appointed to the bench last month, will serve the remaining three years of his four-year term.

Kennewick

In City Council Ward 1, Matt Boehnke filed to run against incumbent Councilman Don Britain. Ed Pacheco filed to run against incumbent Councilman Greg Jones. Former Herald reporter John Trumbo is running against Roy "Bubba" Plunkett for the seat being vacated by Councilman John Hubbard.

Because no one else filed, Kennewick School Board member Heather Kintzley will get another term.

Pasco

The city of Pasco will have a primary election Aug. 6. Rhonda Schafer and Aaron Beasley will run against incumbent Councilman Mike Garrison.

Councilman Tom Larsen also picked up an opponent late Friday, when Stu Nelson filed to run.

Councilmen Bob Hoffman and Saul Martinez are running unopposed.

Steven A. Christensen filed Friday to run against incumbent Pasco School Board member William Leggett. Board member Sherry Lancon will be challenged by Javier F. Ruiz, who filed late Thursday, and Taylor Franklin Taranto, who filed Friday.

Richland

Ron Higgins filed Friday to run against incumbent school board member Heather Cleary. Jimmie D. Chastain II is the other challenger.

Lloyd Becker filed to run for the school board against incumbent Rick Jansons.

Eric Kalia filed Friday to run against Councilman David Rose, while Melody Reed filed to join Greg Jones and Stan Bensussen in the race for the council seat of retiring Mayor John Fox. Richland and Kennewick have people named Greg Jones running for the council.

Richland Councilman Bob Thompson is running unopposed.

West Richland

Late Thursday, Craig Davis filed to join the crowded race to replace retiring West Richland Mayor Donna Noski. Nancy Aldrich, Brent Gerry and Merle N. Johnson already had announced they are running.

Meanwhile, Johan M. Curtis filed Friday to run against Jay Bowman in the race for Gerry's council seat.

Council members Rich Buel, Gail Brown and Richard Bloom are running unopposed.

Prosser

Don Aubrey filed Friday to run against incumbent Councilman Ernie Troemel and Trevor Day.

Rene Rojas will run against incumbent Councilman Morgan Everett.

Deb Brumley is running against Linda Gorst for incumbent Councilman Jason Rainer's seat.

Incumbent school board member Jeremy Tuttle filed to run for another four-year term Thursday. He will be challenged by Christine Bryan.

Board member Bill Jenkin will run unopposed.

Benton City

Desiree Heninger and Linda Lehman filed Friday for the two-year unexpired District 3 council term. The seat is held by Francisca Proctor.

Bryan Robinson filed to run for council against incumbent Mary Lettau.

Councilwoman Lisa Stade is running unopposed.

Connell

Incumbent City Councilman Gary Walton filed to run Friday. He is being challenged by Bruce "Blacky" Blackwell.

Also filing Friday was Jeff Herrman, who is running against Councilman Ray Minor.

Joe Escalera and Gary Allen Fleming Jr. are running for the seat now held by Councilman Lee Barrow.

Fire districts

Bill Houchin filed Friday to challenge incumbent Benton Fire District No. 1 Commissioner Jerry Sleater. Win Taylor, a Prosser School Board member, filed to run against Max Benitz Jr. in Benton Fire District No. 3.

Ports

Danette Layne and Barry Bush, both of Kennwick, filed Friday to run against incumbent District 1 Port of Kennewick Commissioner Don Barnes. John Givens filed Tuesday.

In District 2, incumbent Commissioner Gene Wagner filed Friday. He is being challenged by former Kennewick Mayor Thomas Moak and Leo Bowman of Richland.

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