Richland residents angered by a series of unpopular decisions vowed to throw incumbents off the city council on Tuesday.
Instead, they appeared to keep two and elected two newcomers.
Four of seven seats were up for election. With about 70 percent of the Benton County vote tabulated Tuesday night, the anti-incumbent fever likely has cost one of three veterans her job.
Incumbents Bob Thompson and Sandra Kent appear to have won re-election over challengers Rhoda Williams and Lloyd Becker, respectively.
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But incumbent Dori Luzzo Gilmour, weakened by reports she hadn’t paid property taxes in nearly three years, was trending toward losing her re-election bid to Michael Alvarez, a Richland mortgage broker who mounted an aggressive campaign centered on financial knowhow.
Thompson, Richland’s plainspoken mayor, led Williams 4,079 votes to 3,542, or about 54 percent to 46 percent.
Alvarez led Luzzo Gilmour by 4,411 votes to 3,243, or about 58 percent to 42 percent.
Kent, a Hanford attorney and one of the council’s least visible members, had 4,947 votes to Becker’s 2,587, or about 66 percent to 34 percent.
Becker ran against the council’s unanimous vote to impose a $20 car tab fee to support transportation infrastructure projects, calling it an unreasonable burden on the poor and elderly.
Becker’s own past issues, including four felony convictions, a jail sentence and a startling tweet using a Nazi reference surfaced near the end of the campaign.
In the fourth race, an open seat being vacated by David Rose, Benton County attorney Ryan Lukson appeared to defeat Ginger Wireman, an environmental educator.
The pair ran a respectful, even friendly campaign that differed chiefly on potential development of Columbia Point South.
Lukson favors a community-oriented approach to reviewing the difficult-to-reach site. Wireman wanted to focus the city’s attention on economic development in the core.
Lukson led the race with 4,193 votes to Wireman’s 3,368, or 55 percent to 45 percent.
Unless the numbers change significantly Wednesday, Thompson is the winner who received the least number of votes. Under Richland’s election system, he will receive a two-year term instead of a four-year one.
For Richland, Tuesday’s outcome means the council will convene in January with five familiar faces and two new ones. The new council will select a new mayor, but it is extremely unlikely it will repeal the $20 car tab.