City Councilwoman Jennifer Gregerson held a strong lead over Marine in Tuesday's returns, 1,614 votes to 1,298 -- roughly 55 percent to 44 percent.
Marine, 51, has served as mayor the past eight years. Gregerson, 35, has served on the council for 10 years.
"I haven't talked to Joe yet but I think it's a pretty strong result," Gregerson said Tuesday night from a party at Amici Bistro.
"We knocked on a lot of doors and talked to a lot of people and gave the voters a clear choice and I'm excited to go to work for Mukilteo."
Marine wasn't ready to concede Tuesday night, but acknowledged the trend didn't look good.
"I think I worked about as hard as I could as mayor for eight years and I'm proud of what we accomplished, and if the citizens want to move on, I understand that," he said.
Marine said in the last election for city offices two years ago, about 6,000 votes were cast. If that holds true this time, roughly half the votes remain to be counted. The next set of returns is scheduled to be counted at 5 p.m. Wednesday.
The results from the remaining votes would have to mirror-image Tuesday's returns in favor of Marine for him to have a chance.
Gregerson outraised and outspent Marine. She pulled in more than $20,000 compared to just under $15,000 for Marine as of late October, according to state public disclosure reports.
She spent more than $18,000 on her campaign, compared to roughly $10,000 for Marine.
Gregerson gathered money and endorsements from labor and Democrats, including a $900 donation from the 21st District Democratic Party and a $500 donation from the Mukilteo firefighter union, records show.
Gregerson's campaign sent out three placard mailings in recent weeks and made several automated "robocalls" to voters. The calls and mailings included pledges to keep taxes down.
Marine, by contrast, sent only one mailing and didn't do the calls.
"She's a Democrat machine. I'm a non-partisan mayor," he said. Marine served as a Republican appointee in the Legislature in 2001 and unsuccessfully ran for Congress in 2002, also as a member of the GOP.
Marine said labor groups sent mailings claiming he supported red-light cameras and a road in Japanese Gulch.
"I didn't send out any hit pieces on her. I wasn't going to go there," he said. "I expected my record would stand on its own. We accomplished a lot of great things in Mukilteo."
Gregerson acknowledged she outspent the mayor but said that wasn't the only reason for her strong showing.
"We had a big volunteer effort. We talked to a lot of people on the doorstep and a lot of people on the phone and I'm really proud of all my volunteers and their hard work. We really targeted and worked hard for this."
Bill Sheets: 425-339-3439; firstname.lastname@example.org.
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