It was with some trepidation that I watched developments in the Pullman City Council elections slated for this November. Four council seats are open, as well as the office of Mayor.
It was widely known that incumbent Councilman David Stiller, Ward 3, was stepping down. Ward 3, if you recall, is Judy “The Trolley Conductor” Krueger’s ward. Many others and myself anticipated a repeat of her doomed 2005 council run, only this time possibly without an opponent.
In addition, there was the possibility that Krueger’s fellow 2005 PARD council candidate, Gary “The Phantom Menace” Johnson would resurface for a run in Ward 1 against Francis Benjamin. Krueger, Johnson, or possibly another PARDner, could have also run for the at-large seat currently held by Keith Bloom.
Thank God, even after the filing deadline was extended by three days, that didn’t happen. No PARD candidate has filed for any position. I guess they realize they’re finished. Or perhaps some more moderate local Democrats realize they will be in the local political wilderness forever if their party always takes a hardcore anti-Wal-Mart stance. Who knows?
Mayor Johnson, along with Councilmen Bloom and Benjamin, will run unopposed. That’s great news, as they constitute a big part of the core of our pro-growth council, along with Ann Heath, Barney Waldrop, Bill Paul and Al Sorensen.
In Ward 3, newcomer Devon Felsted, will run unopposed for Stiller’s seat. Felsted, the president and general manager of Pullman Disposal Service, has Democratic ties (he donated $75 to Caitlin Ross’ campaign and $105 to Nathan Horter’s campaigns last year) but reportedly supported Michael Largent, a Republican, for County Commissioner. Felsted has no obvious PARD connections, and shouldn’t represent a problem. Stiller has always been widely regarded as a Democrat, and now someone with similar political leanings will take his seat.
The only contested race this fall will be in Ward 2, where incumbent Councilman Al Sorensen will face off against last year’s Democratic candidate for the District 3 Whitman County Commissioner seat, Nathan Weller. Should be an interesting (and clean) campaign, with Sorensen’s proven experience matched up against Weller’s youth and ideas. I only hope Nathan sticks with his previously stated support of Wal-Mart and doesn’t take a position against growth and development to curry favor with our local, left-wing Democrats.
In any case, this year’s council race should have none of the fireworks and rancor of the 2005 campaign.
As always, stay tuned to Palousitics for complete coverage of Pullman and Whitman County politics you won’t find anywhere else.