Most Mid-Columbian incumbents face opposition

Few incumbents running for Tri-City city council and school board positions will slide through the November general election unopposed.

With the candidate filing period having closed Friday, each of the positions up for election in Kennewick, Richland and West Richland saw officials seeking re-election facing opposition -- from more than one opponent in several cases -- many with names familiar to voters from previous bids.

Races with three or more candidates will be narrowed down in the Aug. 18 primary. The top two vote getters in the primary will go on to the November general election.


The open seat on the Richland City Council being vacated by Sheila Sullivan at the end of her term shaped up into a four-way race with Creighton Knight throwing his hat into the ring late Thursday alongside Patrick McBurney, Terry Christensen and Eldon Eskeli.

Knight lost his first bid for a spot on the council in 2009, when he tried to unseat incumbent Sandra Kent.

This time around, Kent faces opposition from Kent Madsen, who ran unsuccessfully against Councilman David Rose in 2007.

Councilman Phil Lemley, seeking a second term after defeating longtime incumbent Rita Mazur in 2009, drew opposition from Bill Spencer, fresh from his run for Benton County assessor in 2010, and Phillip Joyce, who ran for council against now-Mayor John Fox in 2005.

Six challengers have emerged in three races for seats on the Richland School Board.

Dave Serell, outgoing Richland High School Principal Gordon Comfort and Elizabeth Nagel are challenging incumbent Rick Donahoe for the Director No. 3 position.

Brian Barth and Jhoanna Jones are challenging Mary Guay for her seat as Director No. 4, and Jeffrey Dennison and Brett Amidan will run against Phyllis Strickler for the Director No. 5 slot.


Three incumbents have filed for re-election to the Kennewick council, and each has two challengers.

Incumbent Bob Olson faces Gloria Tyler Baker and Betty Klundt for Position 5, Ward 1. Klundt held a seat on the council from 1986-89.

In the Position 6, Ward 2 race, incumbent Paul Parish is opposed by Diane Crawford and Joe Kadinger.

Incumbent Steve Young is challenged by William Miller and Loren Nichols in the race for Position 7, Ward 3.

In the Kennewick School District, Kathy White is challenged Ben Messinger in her re-election bid for the Director No. 3 position she has held since 2007.

Wendy London, who also joined the board four years ago, filed for re-election as well, but for the Director No. 4 seat currently held by Lynn Fielding. London faces opposition from Ron Mabry.

Brian Bradford, Brian Brooks and Uby Creek are running for the Director No. 5 seat London currently holds. Creek previously ran against Dawn Adams in 2009 and Fielding in 2007.

In the Kennewick Public Hospital District, incumbents Jim Mefford, Kathy Davidson and Marv Kinney filed for re-election to the Board of Commissioners. Board President Mefford and Vice President Kinney are unopposed. Davidson is opposed by Bill Alsdurf of Kennewick.

West Richland

Councilman Tony Benegas drew four challengers for the seat he has held since 2007. Jeff Ballard, Johann Curtiss, Earl Gest and Larry E. Sandberg all have filed in the race. Curtiss ran unsuccessfully for a council seat against Gail Brown in 2009.

Robert Perkes is running against Councilman Merle Johnson. Ron Hayden is challenging Councilman Ken Dobbin.

Benton City

Mayor Lloyd R. Carnahan is unopposed, as are Position 3 Councilman Bob Bruce and Position 5 Councilwoman Honda Johnson.

In the Kiona-Benton City School District, Tim Cook and Jill M. Renz-Whitman are running for the District 1 seat held by Gary Howell. Wayne J. Elston and Charlotte Burruss will challenge Joe Schroeder for his District 4 position. Burruss is a former longtime board member.


Prosser's mayor and three positions on the council have attracted five candidates. Incumbent mayor Paul Warden will run against Mary Ruth Edwards, who ran for Congress against incumbent Doc Hastings in 2010.

Position 4 Councilman Bob Elder, Position 5 Councilman Randy Taylor and Position 6 Councilman Steven W. Becken are unopposed for re-election.

In the Prosser School District, board President Kay Brader is opposed by Travis Davis in her bid for another term as the District 5 representative.

William "Bill" Jenkin and Larry Loges filed for the District 2 seat held by Tim Rankin.

Gayle Wheeler, Robert "RJ" Blahut and Anita Rodriguez Dennis filed for the District 1 seat.

Port commissions

Greg Crook, Del Lathim and Ronald Reimann filed for the District 1 seat on the Port of Pasco Commission being vacated by Bill Clark at the end of his term.

Port of Kennewick District 3 Commissioner Skip Novakovich is unopposed.

Port of Benton District 2 Commissioner Robert D. Larson also is unopposed.

* Staff writer John Trumbo contributed to this report.