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Wednesday, July 18, 2001 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Jean Godden / Times staff columnist

Free-for-all may sub for primary

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As the filing deadline for the fall elections draws ever closer — it's July 27 — candidates are engaged in complicated pre-filing rituals. They're holding fund-raising events, they're lining up supporters, they're plotting campaign strategies.

The biggest unknown is: Will there even BE a September primary this year?

A recent U.S. Supreme Court decision, coupled with the Legislature's failure to devise a new primary system, may mean candidates will find themselves running at large in the general election, a prospect not unlike a tag-team wrestling match minus the referee.

Another uncertainty is what's happening in the Seattle mayoral race. More specifically: Is former Seattle Councilman Charlie Chong running?

A little history: Four years ago, Chong narrowly beat Metropolitan King County Councilman Greg Nickels in the primary but lost to Paul Schell in the general election. Both Schell and Nickels are running again, along with a new mayoral wannabe, Seattle City Attorney Mark Sidran, and a field of lesser-knowns.

Chong has been keeping everyone guessing. On Monday, he said, "There's a better than 50-50 chance I'll do it. Right now it's not whether to run or not. It's whether to march in Saturday's Hi-Yu Parade in West Seattle."

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Jungle out there: Who would have believed it? Wildest bidding at Friday's Jungle Party erupted over the chance to become "vet for a day" at Woodland Park Zoo, helping with such tasks as giving a snake an enema. Both finalists — Joanna von Behringer and party co-chairwoman Janet True — paid $20,000 to get their wish.

The Jungle Party debuted 25 years ago as little more than a potluck picnic. Zoo director David Towne recalls the first party clearing $1,500 to support wildlife conservation. By contrast, this year's rollicking soiree raised $1.1 million and introduced a new drink: chef Kathy Casey's sky-blue, rum-laced Mahali's Sky.

Safari-style apparel ranged from backyard chic to body-skimming animal-print gowns. Two male models appeared in nothing but patterned boxer shorts and tattoos. Most, however, wore khakis, prompting auctioneer Dick Friel to quip: "I haven't seen that much khaki since I was at Fort Lewis."

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Law unto themselves: It seemed an unusual pairing when Seattle lawyers John Henry Browne and Anne Bremner were married in 1999. Bremner earned her reputation as a prosecutor and an attorney defending police, whereas Browne had represented such clients as arsonist Martin Pang and serial killer Ted Bundy. At the time of their engagement, Bremner alluded to Browne's four previous marriages. She said, "It's my first marriage and his last."

But alas. Bremner filed for divorce May 15 after 18 months. She says, "I wish John the best. He was a short and interesting chapter in my life."

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Fountain of youth: Marketing magazine, a trade publication that covers the ad industry, has been offering "lifetime subscriptions" for $25. Publisher Larry Coffman says one printing executive mailed in a $100 bill, enough for four lifetimes. Now that's marketing.

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Flight plan: Spotted was a yellow Nissan Xterra, an SUV with plates that read: BIGBRD.

Jean Godden appears Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Phone 206-464-8300. E-mail: jgodden @seattletimes.com.

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