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January 12, 2011 at 2:28 PM

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Hague draws two challengers in King County Council race

Posted by Keith Ervin

Seattle Port Commissioner John Creighton and former counsel to the governor Richard E. Mitchell announced Wednesday they will run for Metropolitan King County Council against longtime incumbent Jane Hague.

For a short time Wednesday, Hague had only one challenger: Creighton, who issued a news release declaring he would run on a platform of slimming down the council and accelerating Puget Sound clean-up activities.

A Seattle Times reporter's phone call to Mitchell led to his verbal announcement, "I intend to run." Mitchell, an attorney in the Summit Law Group, had previously said he was considering entering the race.

Creighton, in his announcement, called for reducing the number of council members from nine to seven and cutting members' pay "to under six figures." They now earn $131,578 a year.

"I know when compared to the overall county budget the council reforms are small. However, we need to create a culture of efficient delivery of government . . . services throughout the organization, and that needs to start at the top," he said.

Creighton, 45, of Kirkland also proposed appointing a single person to oversee all stormwater management programs, offering incentives to property owners to fix outdated septic systems, asking voters to approve a Puget Sound clean-up tax, and considering incentives to farmers who go organic.

Mitchell, 46, of Mercer Island, said the issues "that ought to be front and center in this campaign" include transportation, public safety, human services and housing -- along with "ways to make the county more efficient and more effective with the more limited funds that it has."

Mitchell, who was general counsel to Gov. Chris Gregoire from 2005 to 2008, said he would offer more policy details as the campaign unfolds. "I'm focused on really providing our district with options in the election, looking at energetic leadership that represents the ideals and values of the district, leadership that they can believe in and trust in."

Mitchell and Creighton, a former Republican, are Democrats. Party preferences aren't listed on election ballots for council seats, but the council caucuses and often votes along party lines.

Hague, 64, a Bellevue Republican, has faced only one previous challenger since her first election to the County Council in 1993. She said in an interview last month, "I feel strong, I feel energized and I am ready to go."

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Jim Brunner
Covers politics.

Keith Ervin
Covers the Eastside.

Andrew Garber
Covers politics and state government from Olympia.

Emily Heffter
Covers local government.

Mike Lindblom
Covers transportation.

Kyung Song
Covers politics and regional issues from Washington, D.C.

Lynn Thompson
Covers Seattle City Hall.

Bob Young
Covers King County and urban affairs.