EVERETT — For a variety of reasons, mayor-elect Cassie Franklin is 198 votes ahead of Judy Tuohy — and not the other way around.
Here are seven to help explain what led to this outcome in what will be a historic election.
In need of a tune-up: Snohomish County Democrats did not get the man — or the woman — they wanted in this election, a sign their politicalmachine isn’t running on all cylinders. They backed Brian Sullivan in the primary and he lost by 63 votes. Mario Brown, the chairman of the county party, earlier said they didn’t work hard enough for him. The county party backed Tuohy and is dealing with similar results. Brown could not be reached for comment about the more-recent results. He’s been busy on Facebook detailing his consulting firm’s electoral successes in Burien, causing some Dems to wonder if he didn’t bring enough focus to the fight in Everett.
Lost its touch: The Everett firefighters union went 0-2 in the race for mayor as well, which may signal a decline in their political influence. Theunion went all in for Sullivan. Firefighters then signed on with Tuohy after the primary. They didn’t provide her as much financial aid but did volunteer their time. There is good news for the union. The state Public Employment Relations Commission has its back in a dispute with the outgoing city administration on firefighter staffing levels, a tiff which the incoming mayor will inherit.
A spoiler to all: Gary Watts spent roughly $40,000 on a campaign to get voters to write-in his name for mayor. He ran newspaper ads and sent out mailers. And 2,062 voters did write in a name, most likely his. Did this affect the outcome? Who would have received those votes if Watts stayed out of it? No one knows for certain. Down the stretch Watts did say nice things about Tuohy — never about Franklin — fueling a belief he took more votes from Tuohy and cost her the election.
The Grand Old Party: Franklin and Tuohy are Democrats so Everett’s Republican voters had to choose somebody. Some went for Watts. Franklin likely got most of their support over Tuohy. Franklin garnered endorsements from a few of the better recognized GOP names in the civic and business communities and met with leaders of the Snohomish County Republican Party. Late in the race Franklin’s name appeared, albeit briefly, on the GOP’s list of recommended candidates. It came off amid inquiries from both sides of the political aisle.
Youth movement: With no incumbent in the race, this election assured a change to the city leadership. It’s conceivable newer voters, and those who tuned in late to thecontest, viewed the younger Franklin — she’s 46 and Tuohy’s 63 — as a bigger step in that direction, unaware she actually had the most support of the current political establishment.
Pain in 72 point bold: Supporters of Tuohy contend her campaign got driven off the path to victory and onto the road to defeat because of a front-page headline in the Nov. 1 edition of The Herald. It wrongly characterized Tuohy as opposing the city’s Safe Streets program when she was instead raising questions about how it had been managed. Though a front-page correction ran the next day, her supporters cited it as one of, if not the most, impactful events in the general election, inflicting a level of damage she could not overcome in the final days of voting.
In the shadows: Mayor Ray Stephanson encouraged Franklin to run and then endorsed her when she did. Early on, his contacts and influence helped provide a foundation on which she built her campaign. In the final weeks, Stephanson avoided a visible campaign presence limiting any negativism toward him among the electorate from rubbing off onto Franklin. And Tuohy chose not to make Franklin’s ties to him a focal point of the campaign. These two women are going to be working together for at least the next two years.
Final results of the election will be certified Tuesday and Franklin will be sworn into office Jan. 3, 2018.