September 22, 1997
Backstrom, Gallagher tee off for water job
by Andrew Walgamott
WOODINVILLE--To the surprise of some, Walter Backstrom not only survived the September 16 primary against three other candidates vying for his job, he also came away with the most votes. Backstrom, who is the current Woodinville Water District Commissioner, scored 976 votes with Steven Gallagher's 890 votes close on his heels. Ron Braun hauled in 470 and Richard Llufrio realized 83 votes.
Backstrom felt reassured by the voter's mandate. "This is a confirmation by the voters of the district that I've done a good job, that I've kept my pledges. They've appreciated my efforts even if my fellow commissioners have not," Backstrom said. Gallagher said he wasn't sure how he sneaked into the general election, but said he was ready to defend the district against a reputed King County Council takeover of local utilities.
"I don't want to see [the district] pulled into the realm of political football," Gallagher said. He is a long-time governmental watchdog. Pulling in 19.4 percent of the vote, Braun, a plumber, said his campaign got off to too late of a start to be effective, but added he would do it again.
Braun said he would brief the sitting commissioners on concerns he heard from customers he spoke with while walking an estimated 10 percent of the district. "I'm glad for the experience. I met a lot of nice people out there; I'll be back; I'll try again," Braun vowed.