By Rikki King and Bill Sheets Herald Writers
LYNNWOOD — Mayor Don Gough faces a tight race for re-election in Lynnwood, trailing behind newcomer Nicola Smith and closely followed by City Councilman Mark Smith in initial ballot results released Tuesday night.
The top two vote-getters will advance to the general election in November. Preliminary counts showed Nicola Smith with 820 votes, or 27.25 percent. Gough had 763 votes, or 25.36 percent. Mark Smith had 751 votes, or 24.96 percent.
Meanwhile, Mukilteo Mayor Joe Marine was comfortably leading his race with 1,279 votes, or 41.15 percent. He was followed by City Councilwoman Jennifer Gregerson with 971 votes, or 31 percent.
Marine, 50, said he expected to survive the primary. So far he’s limited his campaign to yard signs and one small mailing.
“I’m going to hit it hard now,” he said.
Nicola Smith counted her initial victory as an endorsement of her movement to “refresh and reset” Lynnwood, she said.
She was celebrating with supporters Tuesday night at her home.
“We’ll continue with this momentum, and we’ll work diligently toward finishing well in November,” she said.
Mark Smith checked the vote tallies after walking home from National Night Out. He remained hopeful.
“It’s so close,” he said. “We just have to wait and see.”
Gough did not immediately respond to a request for comment. A fourth contender in Lynnwood, longtime councilman Loren Simmonds, was behind at 630 votes.
In Mukilteo, Marine and Gregerson outdistanced City Councilman Steve Schmalz, who received 803 votes, or 26 percent.
Gregerson, 35, is making her first try for mayor. She said the combined votes for Schmalz and herself bode well for her in the fall.
“I’m excited,” she said. “I think it’s clear that a majority of voters are deciding that they want a change in the mayor’s office.”
Marine said he wasn’t concerned. Those who support the status quo are less likely to turn out in the primary, he said.
In the campaign, Gregerson and Schmalz pointed to incidents at City Hall in the past year in making their case for replacing Marine.
Mukilteo’s new public works director was accused of mistreating employees in his previous job, and last year the city’s information technology system crashed.
Marine has said he’s satisfied that the accusations against public works director Rob McGaughey were false and has said the IT meltdown was an isolated incident. The city now contracts with an outside company for information services.
Marine has cited other city accomplishments under his watch, such as the construction of a new community center and improvements to Lighthouse Park.
Ballots will continue to be tallied for the next few days. Gough and Marine both are serving their second terms.
Rikki King: 425-339-3449; firstname.lastname@example.org