Surprise win puts write-in candidate in Pacific mayor's office

PACIFIC, Wash. - Persistence and a lot of footwork helped an 81-year-old Korean War veteran pull off a rare election victory.

Cy Sun won the mayor's seat in the small city of Pacific - as a write-in candidate. Now he says he'd like to overhaul the town in a way that saves money for taxpayers.

"I know what a dollar is - and how a dollar should be spent," Sun says. "And I think I can care for the peoples' tax money."

While a write-in candidate winning a city election in King County is rare, it has happened in Pacific before - in a City Council race.

Sun says he won as a write-in candidate on a platform of stopping corruption and holding down taxes. He promises to audit the books right away, and tell the citizens what he finds.

Sun took his campaign to the streets leading up the election - knocking on door after door, day after day. But he's not exactly doing back-flips over the surprise win in what was a bitterly contested race.

"I just feel ordinary, calm, collected - and whatever comes, comes," he says.

Sun is a highly decorated Korean War veteran. His medals include the Purple Heart.

Most of his livelihood was spent as a rancher and farmer. He says he'll use that real-world business experience to get Pacific back on track.

"I don't expect any guff from anybody - that's how I am," Sun says.

Sun unseated Richard Hildreth, the mayor of Pacific for the past eight years. But Hildreth says voters will come to regret their decision to elect Sun.

"As the citizens learn the truth, they're actually going to be very upset that they were lied to," Hildreth says.

He says he's offered to help Sun with the transition, but that he's been turned down.

Hildreth has little confidence that Cy Sun will be able to grasp the complications of running a city government with a multimillion-dollar budget.

"There's a lot of different interests that need to be dealt with, and I don't think the former mayor or Mr. Sun are prepared at this point," Hildreth says.

Pacific has dealt with disasters in the past several years. Epic flooding destroyed homes - and that's always a lingering threat.

But Sun says he trusts the Army Corps of Engineers and decisions they're making to keep the area safe.

He says he's a man who does business the old-school way, ready to lead Pacific come Jan. 1.

"When I shake hands, it's a seal. And it's an oath. I live by it. I never back down from it," he says.