Joining a long line of local media celebrities who have sought elected office (and unlike former KIRO anchor Susan Hutchison), former KING host John Curley appears headed to victory in his bid for a seat on the Sammamish City Council.
“For the record, only 22 percent of the vote has been counted,” Curley said this morning, so he’s not yet declaring victory over Tom Vance, his opponent in the nonpartisan race for Position 3. Though as of Election Night returns, Curley led Vance by about 10 percentage points. Curley also raised about three times as much money as Vance, and likely benefited from name familiarity that can only come from years on local TV.
This is Curley’s first foray into politics. A Sammamish resident for four years, Curley was let go by KING earlier this year after hosting "Evening Magazine" for almost a decade and a half. Not long after, Washington State Attorney General Rob McKenna invited Curley to lunch and encouraged him to run. “One door closed, the other one opened,” Curley said.
Despite having been recruited by McKenna, Curley is cagey about whether a term on the Sammamish City Council is a stepping stone to higher office. He’s also intent on seeing how the job fits with his charity auction business and his family (he’s married with two young children) and whether he can give the voters what he heard them asking for.
“I’m going to see if I like the job. My main thing is to start to open up those lines of communication.” Curley said. “That was the main thing I heard from voters, that they felt frustrated and isolated and alienated from the city and the workings of the city. My whole thing is what I’ve been doing for the last 14 years at 'Evening Magazine' — going around and hearing people’s stories and talking to people.”
Asked about why so many local media types — Charles Royer, John Miller, Bill Brubaker, Dave Ross, Hutchison — end up running for office, Curley joked that his opponent in the primary was Wunda Wunda (a character on a children’s program played on KING by Ruth Prins from the 1950s to the 1970s). Curley says the skill set required to be a broadcaster — public speaking and “ingesting large amounts of information quickly and being able to regurgitate and sound like you know what you’re talking about” — lend themselves well to politics.
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