Updated: Roach and Guettner lead race to fill departing Pasco mayor’s city council post

A former Democratic candidate for Franklin County commissioner and the former chair of the county’s Republican Party could be heading toward a showdown for a seat on the Pasco City Council.

Despite their political histories, they are seeking a nonpartisan seat being vacated by former Mayor Matt Watkins.

Zahra Roach, an educator and Pasco planning commission chair, and Patrick Guettner, a retiree and former party chair, received the most votes for the at-large position according to election results updated on Wednesday.

Watkins, who is not seeking re-election, served on the council 16 years and was chosen by other council members to be the city’s mostly honorary mayor. The role does not automatically go to his successor on the city council.

Roach has received 2,960 votes and Guettner has 1,822, or 49 percent to 30 percent. Roach unsuccessfully challenged Clint Didier in the 2018 race for Franklin County commissioner.

The third candidate, middle school teacher Abel Campos, has received 1,235 votes, or 20.5 percent.

The Position 7 race was the only race in Franklin County with three or more candidates, making it the only race on the ballot.

In partisan years, all races appear on the primary ballot, even those with only one or two candidates. But this is a nonpartisan year, so only actual primaries are tallied.

Pasco City Council Positions 2 and 5 are also up for election.

Incumbent Ruben Alvarado is running unopposed to retain his Position 2 seat.

Incumbent David Milne will face challenger Isaac “Ike” Myhrum in the Position 5 race on Nov. 5.

The next tabulation of ballots not counted Tuesday is scheduled for Wednesday at 5 p.m.

The auditor’s office will continue to count ballots postmarked by election day. Results will be certified on Aug. 20.

Wendy Culverwell writes about local government and politics, focusing on how those decisions affect your life. She also covers key business and economic development changes that shape our community. Her restaurant column and health inspection reports are reader favorites. She’s been a news reporter in Washington and Oregon for 25 years.