EVERETT — It’s time to tune into local elections — and it figures to be a pretty good show, if you live in Everett, Mukilteo, Snohomish and a few other spots on the map.
The filing period for this year’s political races came to a close at 5 p.m. Friday. Throughout the week, people had the chance to jump into 177 contests involving city councils, school boards, fire districts and other offices around Snohomish County. The primary election is Aug. 1.
The contest to lead Everett city government figures to be among the most-watched local races. Two city councilwomen, Cassie Franklin and Judy Tuohy, are jostling for the post with Brian Sullivan, who is now County Council chairman. A fourth candidate entered the race Friday: Shean Nasin, a substitute teacher and former downtown business owner.
Current Mayor Ray Stephanson plans to retire at the end of the year.
Three incumbent Everett city councilmen also face a pair of challengers.
Four candidates are vying to fill the new strong-mayor position in Snohomish. They include City Councilwoman Karen Guzak, a former mayor, and City Councilman Derrick Burke. Also in the mix is John Kartak, one of the leaders of last year’s initiative drive that gave the city an independently elected or “strong” mayor rather than a mayor selected among peers on the City Council. Late on Friday, Elizabeth Larsen, a county planner who previously applied for a City Council vacancy, joined the mayor’s race.
Five of seven Snohomish City Council positions are contested.
In Monroe, Mayor Geoffrey Thomas must fend off City Councilman Jim Kamp to keep his job. A similar situation presents itself in Lynnwood, where incumbent Mayor Nicola Smith will compete against City Councilman George Hurst.
In Mukilteo, an Islamic community leader heading up efforts to build a mosque and his main antagonist, who was accused of resorting to racist tactics, are running for separate council positions. Mohammed Riaz Khan is one of three people running for the council’s Position 1, now held by Councilman Steve Schmalz, who did not file for re-election. Peter Zieve, the president of a major aerospace firm who led a campaign against Khan’s mosque and recently settled state charges over workplace discrimination, is one of two candidates challenging Council President Bob Champion.
Mukilteo Mayor Jennifer Gregerson has a challenger: Dan Matthews, a Republican who previously ran unsuccessfully for the Legislature and Congress.
Three of the County Council’s five seats are contested.
Appointed Councilman Nate Nehring of Stanwood has three opponents: Democrat Raymond Miller of Marysville as well as fellow Republicans Robert Sutherland of Granite Falls and Chris Ihler of Silvana. Nehring was just 21 when he joined the council early this year after winning support from Republican Party officials. The district covers the cities of Marysville, Arlington, Stanwood and Granite Falls, the Town of Darrington and many rural areas.
Republican County Councilman Sam Low, a former Lake Stevens councilman and small-business owner, was elected to a special one-year term last year. To stay on for a full four-year term in Council District 5, Low must defeat two Democratic challengers. Kristin Kelly of Snohomish is the executive director of the Pilchuck Audubon Society, a position that has put her on the front lines of the county’s growth issues. Tara Schumacher is a community activist in Maltby.
Democratic Councilman Terry Ryan wants to be elected to a second term representing District 4, covering Brier, Maltby Mill Creek, Mountlake Terrace and part of Bothell. Republican Marcus Barton filed to run against him.
An honest-to-goodness donnybrook is shaping up in Snohomish County Fire District 1, where Commissioner David Chan found himself in hot water over what some said were racist comments directed at Mexicans during a meeting earlier this year. His four challengers are: P. Bret Chiafalo of Lynnwood, Michael Ellis of Lynnwood, Brandy Donaghy of Everett and Brandon Richards of Lynnwood.
In Gold Bar, by contrast, there’s an apparent lack of interest. Nobody filed for the mayor’s job or three of the four council positions up for election. There also weren’t any takers for a commissioner seat in Fire District 26, which covers the Gold Bar area.
Voters will be filling a majority of seats on city councils in Arlington, Bothell, Brier, Granite Falls, Index, Lake Stevens, Marysville, Mill Creek, Monroe, Mountlake Terrace, Sultan and Woodway. There’s at least one board of directors position up for grabs in every school district in Snohomish County. Four out of five director seats are on the ballot in the Snohomish School District and the Northshore School District.
As odd-numbered year, no statewide or federal offices appeared on the ballot. The top two candidates advance from the primary to the Nov. 7 general election.