ELECTION: 2 seek to replace Mayor Matt Pina and 5 run to replace Musser, Kaplan

By Jack Mayne

As the filing deadline passed, two candidates want to replace Mayor Matt Pina, and incumbent Councilmember Vic Pennington has one person seeking his job for election in 2017.

Another three candidates want to replace retiring Councilmember Melissa Musser, and two are going for retiring longtime Councilmember and former Mayor Dave Kaplan’s position.

Anthony J. Martinelli and Curtis Harmon are seeking Pina’s Council seat. Martinelli, 27, is a former campaign manager for County Councilmember Dave Upthegrove and is also a political activist.

The other Councilmember seeking reelection is Vic Pennington, who is challenged by J.C. Harris, listed on the Internet as a partner in a prepackaged software business.

Kaplan has served on the council for 16 years, and was mayor for four.

“After sixteen years in local elective office, and twenty straight years of working on city-related issues, I’ve decided that this will be my last year to serve as a Councilmember here in Des Moines,” Kaplan said in a Facebook statement.

Chad M. Harper and Matthew W. Mahoney filed to replace him. Harper is a political activist with ties of current and former political leaders in King County.

Mahoney has been active in Des Moines issues and an alternate member of the Des Moines Citizen’s Advisory Committee.

Musser’s position 5 seat is being sought by Harry Steinmetz, Traci R. Buxton, and Patricio Mendoza.

Steinmetz is a criminal defense attorney who practices in Tacoma and has been active in some matters before the Des Moines Council.

Traci Buxton said in an earlier announcement of her candidacy that “I am ready to dig in deeper and work to make more of a difference in our city.”

The primary election will be held on Tuesday, Aug. 1.

Position 1:

  • Matthew M. Pina*
  • Anthony J. Martinelli
  • Curtis Harmon

Position 3:

  • Victor L. Pennington*
  • J.C. Harris

Position 5 (Musser*):

  • Traci R. Buxton
  • Patricio Mendoza
  • Harry Steinmetz

Position 7 (Kaplan*):

  • Chad M. Harper
  • Matthew W. Mahoney

*denotes incumbent


5 Responses to “ELECTION: 2 seek to replace Mayor Matt Pina and 5 run to replace Musser, Kaplan”
  1. Tad Doviak says:

    I am very excited that such a great group of candidates is running for city council this year. I am especially excited to see Patricio Mendoza running. His experience running a successful business in Des Moines is just what the city needs right now. That, among many other reasons, is why I became his campaign manager. I believe in him and I wouldn’t be doing this if I didn’t. Good luck to everyone running this year!

  2. Katherine says:

    I’m happy that more candidates have joined the race for city council. This shows that the citizens are engaged and ready to embrace much needed change in Des Moines. Des Moines has fallen far behind our neighboring cities due to lack of leadership, mismanagement of taxpayers money and out of touch city council members. You can’t keep doing the same thing and expect a different result. Look at what 20 years of Kaplan and Sheckler have left us, a nearly bankrupt city. The incumbents (Pina and Pennington) have had more than enough time and opportunity to turn things around. Pina is part of the old regime of good ole boys city council members, he just replaced his uncle or dad, whoever Ed Pina is to him. Looking forward to seeing four new faces on the city council.

  3. Pat Nardo says:

    “A chain is only as strong as its weakest link”: Holds true today and we are confronted with a good example of a chain of dedicated individuals that comprise our Des Moines City Council. Soon this team which is our civic anchor chain will be minus two staunch links. Councilman #7, Dave Kaplan and Councilwoman #5, Melissa Musser will leave two critical links to be replaced.
    For Position #5, we have Traci Buxton, a dedicate businesswoman, who shows great promise in her desire to serve our community and is a constant presence at council meetings in preparation for this arduous and, often, thankless task. We are giving our best endorsement in support of Traci and feel that she will ultimately be elected, above any competitor, because a sturdy link must be replaced in kind.
    Our former Mayor, Dave Kaplan Pos. #7, one ridged element in our city leadership chain will end his council tenure and we have Matt Mahoney, preparing to take this place on our council. Having observed Matt at work and studying for his election by attending, regularly, council meetings, so he will, when elected, hit the ground in the proverbial running condition. Matt Mahoney will not be anything less than the link that fails to give. He has our support because our city needs to continue it course toward prosperity. Our opinion, our vote. Matt Mahoney for Pos. #7/ Traci Buxton for Pos. #5. The best candidates will win and we do wish all good luck


  4. Pat Nardo says:

    I believe that not all opinions are well received unless supporting “the right views” or candidates. It matters not and I enjoy the blog anyway.

  5. Al says:

    Getting rid of Pina and Musser is a great start to ridding this city of council members who have made this city financially upside down. Just take a drive down Marine View Drive and count all the empty/vacant properties….. Forced Water & Sewer District to pay 6% (asked for 16%) to the city, plus to pay higher permit fees to operate in the City limits, added $40 to vehicle license tabs…….

    I hope for the cities sake that voters vote out these current council members and replace with responsible business oriented people!

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