Lewis, Haugen prevail in mayoral primary
By ROBERT WHALE
Auburn Reporter News reporter
August 20, 2009 · Updated 11:42 AM
Returns from Tuesday’s Auburn mayoral primary show incumbent Mayor Pete Lewis leading by nearly a 2-to-1 margin over his nearest competitor in combined results from King and Pierce counties.
City Councilwoman Virginia Haugen, a longtime Lewis rival, was finishing in second, good enough to claim the right to run against the two-term incumbent in the Nov. 3 general election.
Locksmith Frank Lonergan and Auburn businesswoman Shelley Erickson were a distant third and fourth, respectively.
With 71 of 81 precincts (87 percent) reporting as of 10:21 a.m. Wednesday, Lewis had garnered 3,079 votes (50 percent) with Haugen taking 1,688 votes (27 percent). Lonergan was in third with 819 votes (13 percent) and Erickson was fourth with 589 (10 percent).
Lewis monitored results with members of his reelection committee over dinner at the Longhorn Barbecue on Tuesday night.
“It’s a primary, but it’s a first step,” a smiling Lewis said about 8:30 p.m. after Pierce County’s numbers joined with King County’s put him just above 50 percent. “It’s a validation of all the hard work that people across Auburn have been doing together.”
If Tuesday’s results hold, Lewis said, Auburn voters will have a clear choice this fall.
“The choice will be between going forward and going back, as specifically expressed by Virginia,” Lewis said, adding that he will keep a respectful tone in the campaign.
“Tomorrow I’m going back to work,” Lewis told supporters. “But the one thing I’ve learned tonight, I think, is that as of Jan. 1, so far, I still have a job.”
Haugen, who learned of the results after a quiet evening in Tacoma with friends, said she was not surprised to find herself headed for the general election. She was a bit disappointed, however, by Erickson’s showing, which she had hoped would be better.
“The people who have worked for me and supported me all along felt I would end up in the general election,” Haugen said. “I did expect to do a little better than I have done.”
Haugen said she would “work, work, work,” in the coming campaign. She said she expects to pick up the support of Erickson’s and Lonergan’s voters in the
general, adding that that alone should narrow the gap with Lewis.
“Frank and Shelley and I made a pact in the beginning that it didn’t matter who won the right to face off against Pete in the general, we would throw our support to that person,” Haugen said.
Lonergan conceded the primary in a letter to the Reporter.
“Finally, the primary is behind us, and we now have two candidates to decide from for the November election,” Lonergan wrote. “My congratulations go out to Mr. Lewis and Ms. Haugen for a successful campaign. According to the numbers I see in the results, it will be a hard-won victory for one of these two in November.
“For those people that found it in their hearts to support me and to vote for me, I am most grateful and honored. You voted for a change, and hopefully that message has gotten through to the Council as well as the mayor,” Lonergan wrote.
The Auburn Reporter will update results as they come in.
As of 4:10 p.m. Wednesday
1. Pete Lewis, 2,889 votes, 47.19 percent
2. Virginia Haugen, 1,741, 28.44 percent
3. Shelley Erickson, 602, 9.83 percent
4. Frank Lonergan, 855, 13.97 percent
Write-in, 35, 0.57 percent
Note: 6,204 votes cast of 28,328 registered voters in Auburn
As of 5:52 p.m. Wednesday
1. Pete Lewis, 532, 69.91 percent
2. Virginia Haugen, 107, 14.06 percent
3. Shelley Erickson, 65, 8.54 percent
4. Frank Lonergan, 54, 7.10 percent
Write-in, 3, 0.39 percentContact Auburn Reporter News reporter Robert Whale at email@example.com or 253-833-0218, ext. 5052.