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Originally published July 27, 2013 at 7:04 PM | Page modified July 27, 2013 at 10:15 PM

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Dunn faces fight in otherwise ho-hum King County Council primary

Real estate broker Shari Song has raised more money than any previous challenger of Metropolitan King County Councilmember Reagan Dunn.

Seattle Times staff reporter

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Less than a year after he lost the election for state attorney general, Metropolitan King County Councilmember Reagan Dunn is facing a stronger re-election challenge than he’s had in years.

Real estate broker Shari Song has raised more money than any previous competitor for Dunn’s council seat. Also running in the Aug. 6 primary is Kristina Macomber, who has described herself as “a mom with common-sense values.”

Dunn, despite his loss in the attorney general race to former County Council colleague Bob Ferguson, remains a political powerhouse with name recognition across the state and a strong ability to raise money.

The sprawling Ninth Council District, which takes in parts or all of Bellevue, Renton, Newcastle, Covington, Maple Valley and Enumclaw, voted in 2012 for Democratic President Obama, and Republicans Dunn and gubernatorial candidate Rob McKenna.

Metropolitan King County Council and county executive are nonpartisan offices, although political parties often recruit and support candidates.

The contest for Dunn’s seat appears to be the most competitive County Council race, as other incumbents are either running unopposed or are facing weaker opponents.

The top two candidates in the primary vote will move on to the November general election.

The council’s newest member, Rod Dembowski, is facing two poorly funded candidates in the First District, which takes in Northeast Seattle, Shoreline, Lake Forest Park, Kenmore, Bothell and a part of Kirkland.

Dembowski, a lawyer appointed to replace Ferguson on the council, is running against accountant John Fray and public-health professional Naomi Wilson.

County Executive Dow Constantine, who faced a crowded field of well-known candidates four years ago, has three rivals this year: civil engineer Alan Lobdell, businessman Goodspaceguy and former Metro Transit bus driver Everett Stewart.

County Council members Kathy Lambert and Pete von Reichbauer are running unopposed for re-election. State Rep. Dave Upthegrove and former airline pilot Andy Massagli will battle in the November general election for the position being vacated by Julia Patterson.

Song, who has not held elective office, is a past president of the Korean American Coalition — Washington and a founder of the Mission Church Learning Center in Federal Way. King County Democrats, labor unions and Washington Conservation Voters have endorsed her.

Song says on her website she would be willing to consider new taxes for human services, and she pledged to work with the Legislature for adequate funding of roads and transit. She has criticized Dunn for missing council votes, overspending his office budget, and using tax dollars to buy a Persian rug for his office and participate in a trade mission to Australia.

A Seattle Times analysis of those charges — previously made by Ferguson — noted that Dunn had in most years underspent his office budget but found the other criticisms were factual.

Dunn, a former federal prosecutor and an opponent on the council of several proposals to raise county taxes, said he has reimbursed the county for the $707 rug and, over the past year, has missed fewer votes than any other council member.

Dunn has been endorsed by the mayors of all eight cities in his district, the Council of Metropolitan Police and Sheriffs, and the Affordable Housing Council.

“I think there’s enough dissatisfaction in the district that Councilman Dunn can be unseated,” said Song’s campaign manager, Jonathan Parramore. “It’s just a question of whether we can raise the funds and get Shari’s name and message out there.”

Dunn said Song is “working hard, to her credit. If she doesn’t prevail in this election she’ll be a credible candidate for Legislature or some other, local office.”

Dunn has raised $272,811 for his re-election campaign, but redirected more than half to the attorney general race. Song has reported raising $123,371, while the state Public Disclosure Commission website shows no contributions to Macomber.

The Municipal League of King County rated Dunn outstanding, Song good, and had insufficient information to rate Macomber.

Keith Ervin: 206-464-2105 or kervin@seattletimes.com

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