Our choices in the 26th and 29th legislative races

The 26th Legislative District, west of the Narrows, is rural and suburban. The 29th, dominated by Tacoma’s southern neighborhoods, is working class and gritty.

What they have common are lively Democratic primary races for the state House of Representatives.

In the 26th – which encompasses the Gig Harbor and Key peninsulas, as well as Port Orchard – Republican Rep. Jan Angel has no challenger from within her own party. But two Democrats, Stephen Greer and Karin Ashabraner, are after her seat.

Greer of Wauna is an attorney and former deputy prosecutor. He cites community service as a volunteer mentor at Kitsap County Youth Services, as a member of Bremerton-based Olympic College’s human services advisory committee and as a representative of crime victims.

Ashabraner is a Gig Harbor teacher, former assistant city administrator and Army veteran. For the last four years, she has served as president of the Peninsula School District’s teachers union.

Both are smart and capable. We prefer Greer; we believe that, if elected, he would demonstrate more independence from his party’s leadership and from public unions.

In the district’s Position 2, a contest between Republican Doug Richards and Democrat Larry Seaquist will be decided in November.

 •  The Democratic face-off for Position 1 in the 29th District pits the very liberal David Sawyer against the very liberal Ben Lawver; both are Tacomans.

Unless there are enough Democratic votes to propel both of them into the November election – not an impossibility – the primary is likely to serve as the final.

The 29th includes South Tacoma, Parkland and part of Lakewood, and it may be most unionized district in the state. Terry Harder, the Republican seeking the seat, faces long odds here.

Sawyer, a law clerk, is studying to be an attorney. He cites volunteer work with the United Way and as a Big Brother among his community activities.

Lawver has worked as a senior field representative for the AFL-CIO and as a political director for the Washington State Labor Council.

Both have potential to be effective lawmakers. Those voters who want a representative 100 percent aligned with unions, professionally and politically, should vote for Lawver. We’ll vote for Sawyer, who may show more independence from time to time – a trait we look for in any candidate.

In the district’s other seat, Position 2, Rep. Steve Kirby has no opponent.

 •  Coming Wednesday: Our endorsements in two 28th Legislative District races.

To read previous election endorsement editorials, go to