EVERETT — In the last hours of campaign filing Friday, two candidates emerged to challenge two-term incumbent Dave Somers for Snohomish County executive.
Republican Bob Hagglund and Democrat Christopher Garnett registered their campaigns on Friday, the last day to file in the state.
Hagglund, 57, is a health care data scientist born and raised in Everett. He is chairman of the Snohomish County Republican Party. He said he voted to reelect Donald Trump in 2020, though he would “like to see new candidates emerge on the Republican side.”
In an interview Friday, Hagglund said he’s running because he wants county government to refocus on public interest instead of political policy.
“We need to work on re-industrializing” through more union labor, Hagglund said. Asked about his other top priorities, he listed getting people off the streets and environmental issues, such as lowering exhaust levels from cars idling in traffic. To get people off the streets, Hagglund pointed toward Marysville Mayor Jon Nehring’s “get treatment or go to jail” policies.
“The people of Snohomish County, I think they just need fresh leadership with some fresh ideas,” Hagglund said. “I’m hearing about a lot of problems that can’t be solved, a lot of things that are deemed too expensive, too difficult — but I just say no to that.”
The other new face in the race, Garnett, 33, said he works in real estate in Lake Stevens, and that he has owned and operated numerous small businesses in Snohomish County for the past decade. He said that his career has given him insights “across various domains,” including employment, affordability, taxation, mental health and housing.
“I aim to leverage my knowledge and expertise to make a positive impact on the lives of those who call this county home,” Garnett said. “Any decision made as county executive will be done through the lens of bringing about positive change. This includes improving the business environment, rationally promoting affordability, advocating for fair taxation, careful consideration of mental health resources, and ensuring access to housing with consideration at all levels.”
Four months ago, Somers announced his reelection campaign for his third and final term.
“While my opponents waited until the last day to jump into this race, I’ve never taken any election for granted and will campaign just as hard this year as I have in the past,” Somers said Friday. “I’m proud of the work we’ve done to grow and diversify our economy, provide for people in crisis and address public safety priorities — and excited for the progress we can make in the coming years.”
During his two terms in office, Somers, 70, has worked to expand the aerospace sector, green manufacturing and technology jobs. A longtime fisheries and forestry biologist, he also advocated for environmental protections.
Two months ago, Somers launched a two-part holistic plan to attack the opioid crisis. The announcement came in the aftermath of Somers losing his brother to a fentanyl-related overdose.
In the last presidential election, Somers voted for Joe Biden.
Garnett did not directly comment on Somers’ tenure, but said: “This county cannot stand to be stagnant for the next four years.”
“I have nothing negative to say about Executive Somers,” Hagglund said. “I understand he’s a really decent man.”
The Republican also ran for secretary of state last year against Steve Hobbs, of Lake Stevens. In the primary, Hagglund came in fourth of eight candidates, garnering 12% of the vote and missing out on the second seat by 16,000 votes.
The primary election is on Aug. 1. Voter pamphlets and local ballots will be mailed in July. People can register to vote in person until the day of the election.
Kayla J. Dunn: 425-339-3449; email@example.com; Twitter: @KaylaJ_Dunn.
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