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Denson leads, Lonergan and Harris battling to move forward in Pierce County Council District 7 primary

Pierce County councilmember Derek Young has reached his term limit, leaving five candidates to vie for his spot.

PIERCE COUNTY, Wash. — Robyn Denson leads the race for the Pierce County Council District 7 seat with 58% of the vote as ballots continue to be counted. 

Paula Lonergan is trailing with 12% of the vote. Josh Harris is 84 votes behind.  

A seat on the Pierce County will be vacated by longtime council member Derek Young as he reaches his term limit in 2022. 

Young was first elected to the council in 2015 and was reelected in 2019. Four Republican candidates and one Democratic candidate have put in a bid to replace him. 

Denson, the sole democratic candidate, raised the most out of the pack, reporting over $106,000 in contributions to the Washington Public Disclosure Commission. Harris raised $28,985, Chuck West raised $20,057, Lonergan raised $18,565 and Mitch Anderson raised $13, 477 over the course of the campaign.

Denson is a current Gig Harbor City Council member and also has experience as a housing policy analyst for the Washington Office of Program Research, according to her candidate profile. 

As a Pierce County Council member, Denson pledged to reduce crime and increase neighborhood safety by providing appropriate staffing and resources for first responders while championing better infrastructure, broadband, mental health resources and services for children and seniors. 

Longeran has 30 years of experience as a human resources and program manager and also served as a precinct committee officer from 2018 to 2021. She is also an Air Force veteran and has a history of volunteering as an election observer, with the Salvation Army and the Tacoma Rescue Mission, according to her candidate profile.

Longeran said she would work to address urgent issues like safety and criminal activity in Pierce County if elected. She also said she would focus on making sure law enforcement, infrastructure and other urgent needs are met using existing resources.

Harris is the owner of Integrity Construction Group and also served on the University Place Volunteer Firefighter Board and as the Executive Director of Tacoma-Pierce County Crimestoppers, according to his candidate profile. 

Harris has made headlines twice over the past year. First for bailing out three Tacoma police officers charged in the death of Manuel Ellis and again for shooting at a man he accused of stealing his property in self-defense.

In his candidate statement, Harris said Pierce County has become unaffordable, unsafe and unfree. He advocated for "Refund[ing]" the police and getting county spending "under control." 

Anderson is a financial advisory and listed volunteering experience with the Tacoma Chamber of Commerce and the Gig Harbor Chamber of Commerce.

As Pierce County Council member, Anderson advocated for rebuilding the county's rainy-day fund and reigning in unnecessary spending, saying keeping "proper priorities in mind" while adhering to a budget is key to fiscal responsibility. 

West is a former battalion chief for Key Peninsula Fire as wel as a small business owner. He also served as director of the Peninsula School Board. 

West said he would work to "restore common sense" to the system in order to treat mental health and addiction problems that he said are a "major cause of our homelessness problem." West also said he would work to help law enforcement address "rapidly increasing" crime.

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