Leader in Lynnwood mayoral primary says voters are looking for new leadership

The leader in the Aug. 6 primary for Lynnwood mayor says that voters were eager for new leadership.

Political newcomer Nicola Smith led primary election returns released Monday with 27.99 percent of the vote to 26.01 percent for incumbent Mayor Don Gough, 23.37 percent for City Councilman Mark Smith and 21.14 percent for City Councilman Loren Simmonds.

Nicola Smith said last week that she led primary voting because, “The voters in Lynnwood are eager for a leadership change from a candidate with proven leadership skills, passion and integrity, outside of the usual political channels.”

She said that she could defeat Gough despite the mayor’s advantage in name recognition and his willingness to spend money because, “The voters in Lynnwood are ready for a new mayor. During the primary race, I raised significant contributions from a variety of citizens and businesses who support my goal of building a better Lynnwood. Mayor Gough has funded his campaign entirely through personal loans. I am confident that I will continue to raise the necessary funds to reach the stakeholders of Lynnwood to promote my platform.”

Smith said that she was the only candidate not responsible for current problems in Lynnwood or the unpopular red light cameras.

The results become official upon certification Tuesday.

Former Councilwoman Lisa Utter, who lost a bid for mayor in the 2009 primary, noted Monday that 72 percent of primary voters choose someone other than incumbent Gough.

“Going into the general election having beat the incumbent is a good base, and if supporters of the other challengers move their votes to the challenger, [Nicola Smith] is in a strong position,” Utter said. “You can’t be assured that voters will transfer over but all of the other challengers were pretty focused on the problems with the current administration.

“Running as an outsider Nicola doesn’t carry a lot of the baggage that comes from having served.”

Utter added that Gough always has been a self-funder.

“There are not that many people who enjoy asking for money, so this is not terribly surprising,” Utter said.

“There has been a lot of bad press since his last election, with the budget and audit problems, the issues with staff, the vote of the council asking him to resign, the legal issues with his assistant,” she said. “Given this list, Don has to know he is vulnerable and putting money in early in the race makes sense.”

Evan Smith can be reached at schsmith@frontier.com.

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