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Originally published October 14, 2013 at 5:51 PM | Page modified October 24, 2013 at 12:47 PM

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Editorial: Reagan Dunn, Dave Upthegrove and Rod Dembowski for County Council

The Seattle Times endorses Reagan Dunn, Dave Upthegrove and Rod Dembowski for Metropolitan King County Council.

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Seattle Times editorial board members have been interviewing candidates and campaigns for statewide and local initiatives on the Nov. 5 ballot. We have started to publish our recommendations to voters. Ballots are expected to be mailed around Oct. 17.

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REAGAN Dunn is the clear choice to represent District 9 in the Metropolitan King County Council.

Of the three council races, the big money has been raised in Dunn’s: nearly $350,000 for him and more than $200,000 for his challenger, Bellevue realtor Shari Song. The position is officially nonpartisan, but Song’s largest donor is the state Democratic Central Committee, which is trying to knock out Dunn, who ran last year for state attorney general as a Republican.

He lost, but his home voters should not hold it against him. He didn’t win the city vote, but this moderate conservative is a good fit for the district, which includes Newcastle, Maple Valley, Enumclaw and much of southeastern King County.

Since 2005, Dunn has been a vote for caution on taxes, recently voting against a 41 percent increase in the parks levy — though he has supported taxes for flood control and levies for juvenile justice and aid cars. Dunn adds needed balance to an urban-dominated council, and voters should retain him.

In District 5, which includes Burien, Des Moines, Kent, Normandy Park, Renton, SeaTac and Tukwila, voters should elect state Rep. Dave Upthegrove to succeed Julia Patterson, who is retiring.

Upthegrove, a Democrat, is serving his seventh two-year term in the Legislature. He understands the issues of King County’s most ethnically and economically diverse district. He is chairman of the House Environment Committee, is a strong advocate for transit and roads, and has endorsements from both sides of the aisle. He would be a moderate liberal voice on the council.

His opponent, advertising producer and former pilot Andy Massagli of Kent, has a limited understanding of county governance and is running a weak campaign.

District 1, which includes Bothell, Kenmore, Kirkland, Lake Forest Park, Shoreline and Woodinville, is ably represented by Rod Dembowski — he was appointed to replace Bob Ferguson, who was elected state attorney general last year.

Dembowski, a Democrat who was once former Gov. Gary Locke’s policy adviser in the executive’s office, was ready for the job and has gone right to work. He chairs the Regional Transit Committee and takes active roles on a broad range of policy panels. He is working to reform the public defender system and is committed to protecting human services. His voice will be important if the county is to resolve a funding shortfall and maintain Metro bus routes.

His challenger, Naomi Wilson, does not match his experience and has not mounted much of a campaign. Voters should give Dembowski the chance of a full term.

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