After 44 rounds of voting, Edmonds has a new council member

Community Transit spokesperson Luke Distelhorst will fill a council seat vacated by Mayor Mike Nelson.

Luke Distelhorst

Luke Distelhorst

EDMONDS — In theory, the rules for appointing someone to the Edmonds City Council are simple.

Each council member nominates one of the 12 candidates, then they vote. Whoever gets four out of seven votes wins the open seat. If no candidate gets a majority, they vote again. The council is deadlocked if vote totals stay the same for three straight rounds, and in that case, the entire process repeats.

On Tuesday night, it took the council 44 rounds of voting to select Community Transit spokesperson Luke Distelhorst to take a seat vacated by Mike Nelson, who was elected mayor.

Distelhorst’s term will end in 2021.

“I want to be a team player and make sure we’re working for everyone in our city limits,” he said.

In his application, Distelhorst said he’d prioritize the Citizen’s Advisory Housing Commission, public safety, the environment and community engagement. At 35, he’s the youngest member on the council, and the only man.

“If you go down to a Saturday farmers market, it’s baby-stroller derby,” he said. “The demographics definitely are changing. I think there are a lot of people that want to look toward the future.”

During Tuesday night’s meeting, Distelhorst wasn’t on the first, second, third or fourth ballots.

For the fifth round, he was nominated by council member Susan Paine.

During the 43rd round of voting, Council President Adrienne Fraley-Monillas and member Laura Johnson joined Paine and supported Distelhorst. On the 44th ballot, council member Diane Buckshnis cast the deciding vote.

“I saw that the votes were going in that manner and I felt he would be a very good candidate,” Buckshnis said. “He doesn’t seem to have an ego. He’s nonpartisan, balanced, open-minded. I just think he’ll do a great job.”

Early rounds were dominated by former council candidates Alicia Crank and Nathan Monroe.

Fraley-Monillas, Paine and Laura Johnson each backed Crank, a YWCA fund raiser.

Monroe, a civil engineer, had support from members Buckshnis, Kristiana Johnson and Vivian Olson. The trio also voted for a mix of Jay Grant, Will Chen and Matt Cheung.

Lora Petso, Roger Pence, Carreen Rubenkonig and Jenna Nand also received votes Tuesday night.

Buckshnis said she was happy to see a new generation of residents get involved in city politics.

Fraley-Monillas has been a part of six appointment processes during her 10 years on the council. This year’s batch of applicants was the most qualified, she said.

Two years from now, run for office, she told them.

In 2021, Distelhorst, Fraley-Monillas and Kristiana Johnson will be up for election.

Joey Thompson: 425-339-3449; jthompson@heraldnet.com. Twitter: @byjoeythompson.

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