Mark Roe leads in race for prosecuting attorney

EVERETT — As of Tuesday night, Snohomish County Prosecuting Attorney Mark Roe was on track to keep his job as the county’s top lawyer.

Roe was leading his opponent Jim Kenny in early returns by a wide margin.

“Mark is relieved and happy with the outcome. He dedicated the campaign victory and night to his father, who passed away Monday morning,” said Jason Cummings, the county’s chief civil deputy prosecutor.

Roe was a favorite to win the seat after his showing in the primary election in August. He carried nearly every precinct and outpaced Kenny by a 2-to-1 margin.

That trend was holding Tuesday night, leaving Kenny a near-impossible deficit to overcome.

Kenny, an assistant prosecutor with the city of Seattle, had hoped to make up ground with the help of the voters pamphlet, which had been available only online before the primary election. Kenny said he thought his statement would resonate with voters. Kenny also tried to attack Roe’s ethics in the final weeks leading up to the race.

Kenny could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

Roe, 51, has been serving as the county’s prosecutor since late last year after his boss, former Snohomish County Prosecutor Janice Ellis stepped down to take a job with the Tulalip Tribes.

Kenny, a well-known Democratic Party activist, earned the most votes from the county’s Democratic precinct officers. The County Council, however, chose to go with Roe, citing his experience and reputation.

Roe has been with the prosecutor’s office for 23 years, handling some of the community’s most high-profile cases in recent years. He was the chief criminal deputy prosecutor before stepping down to head the special assault unit and to help establish Dawson Place, the county’s child advocacy center.

Roe won overwhelming support from the Snohomish County Bar Association and earned endorsements from law enforcement, defense attorneys, victim advocate groups and elected officials.

Roe’s campaign focused on his work and experience in Snohomish County.

“It’s not a career move, it’s a career,” Roe said.

Roe has spent the last 10 months looking at ways to work more efficiently and eliminating a backlog of criminal cases. He’s implemented some changes in how prosecutors are filing cases and moved some senior deputy prosecutors to the charging unit, where cases are first reviewed. Those lawyers have the experience to size up and make quick, thoughtful decisions, Roe said.

Diana Hefley: 425-339-3463; hefley@heraldnet.com.

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