Incumbent Kennewick Councilman Paul Parish will vie for his sixth term after dominating the primary election Tuesday. But challenger Diane Crawford said she’s prepared to unseat him in November.
Parish received 2,363 votes, or 48 percent, for the at-large Position 6, according to initial results from the Benton County Auditor’s Office. Crawford received 1,549, or nearly 32 percent. Challenger Ed Pacheco was tailing a distant third with 955 votes, or almost 20 percent.
The auditor’s office had counted 12,639 ballots as of the first results posted just after 8 p.m. About 3,000 ballots were left to be counted and the next set of results is expected later today . Voter turnout in the county was at nearly 14 percent.
Parish said he appreciated voters having faith in him.
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“I think I’ve done a good job but you never know how the citizens feel,” he told the Herald. “I treated it just like the first time I ran.”
Crawford said she was green when she ran a failed bid against Parish four years ago. That’s not the case this time and people are responding well to her campaign.
“I think it’s because I’m honest and upfront and people seem to respect that,” she said.
Parish relied on his long record on the council for his campaign, citing his work to improve Columbia Park, install a Sept. 11 memorial at the Southridge complex and promote economic development. There’s also a lot of projects he wants to have a hand in, such as a proposed expansion to Three Rivers Convention Center and the redevelopment of the 110-acre Vista Field.
Crawford has called for a woman’s voice on the all-male council and was critical of the council’s efforts in the Bridge to Bridge area on the Columbia River, saying it has languished after the council shelved plans four years ago and only recently reintroduced.
Crawford and Pacheco said the council last year was wrong to change the number of at-large seats on the council from one to three, saying the move protects incumbents. Parish defended the change Tuesday, saying he’s long sought to remove the ward voting system.
“I think you get a better cross section when you have at-large seats,” he said.
Crawford said her experience on the city’s historic preservation commission, her participation in the Citizen’s Academy with law enforcement and more overall knowledge of city affairs will give her more of an advantage this November.
“I’m going to get out and knock on doors,” she said.
Pacheco said he got some positive feedback from the community during his campaign but was moving on from the election. He will continue serving on the city’s planning commission and will look for any other opportunity to serve Kennewick.
“I don’t think my name is very popular out there and that’s OK,” he said, adding he’s not as well known as the others.