County turned bit bluer in 2008 election

Chris Gregoire learned a hard lesson four years ago when she lost the popular vote in Snohomish County, a fate no Democratic candidate for governor had suffered in a generation.

It’s a different story for the incumbent this time.

Gregoire was leading Republican Dino Rossi by 19,000 votes in Snohomish County as of Friday, piling up advantages in the largest cities and carrying a number of small towns she lost in 2004, according to an analysis of early returns by The Herald. (A table on Page A10 showing how Snohomish County communities voted in the presidential and gubernatorial races reflects figures as of Thursday night.)

Meanwhile, President-elect Obama is outpolling Republican John McCain by 55,000 votes and winning in every corner of Snohomish County except one.

That spot was Stanwood, where McCain held a one-vote edge in the latest breakdown of results by precincts issued by the Snohomish County elections office.

Gregoire and leaders of the Snohomish County Democratic Party made major adjustments in the wake of 2004.

That year, she beat Rossi by 133 votes following three ballot counts and a court case in what may go down as the closest race for governor ever.

Rossi stunned political insiders when he defeated Gregoire by roughly 6,500 votes in Snohomish County.

Then, she captured majorities only in Brier, Edmonds, Everett, Lynnwood, Mountlake Terrace and Index. He won everywhere else, racking up gobs of votes in the county’s unincorporated areas.

The Herald analysis found that Gregoire is doing better in communities she won before, while moving ahead in Bothell, Mukilteo, Snohomish, Marysville, Lake Stevens, Gold Bar and Granite Falls.

Rossi was leading in Arlington, Monroe, Darrington, Sultan, Stanwood, Mill Creek and Woodway, according to the analysis.

Gregoire’s success in the county is a product of a Democratic Party fired up by the Obama candidacy and an intensified outreach by the governor’s campaign including stepped-up visibility.

Four years ago, Gregoire had no paid staff working in the county. This time, two people have worked since early this year on organizing volunteers and contacting voters.

The governor came to Everett at the launch of her campaign in the spring and was there again the day before Election Day for a final push.

It’s paying off in the results.

In Everett, where she beat Rossi by 3,469 votes last time, she’s ahead by 5,248 and capturing 60 percent of the city’s vote this week.

She’s nearly doubling her margin over him in Edmonds and Lynnwood and is winning 65 percent of ballots cast in Mountlake Terrace.

One place she’s made a large turnaround is Marysville. She lost there by 1,200 votes and was enjoying a 246-vote lead in the latest precinct totals.

In the unincorporated portion of south county she made one of her most dramatic gains. Rossi beat her by 319 votes there in 2004 and Gregoire led by 6,016 votes, as of Thursday.

While Rossi leads in the unincorporated areas in the county’s eastern and northern corners, it is far closer than their last encounter.

He won in the east region by 5,442 votes and the north by 3,296 in 2004. He was ahead by 786 and 838 votes respectively, in the latest available figures.

In the presidential race, Snohomish County is producing one of the state’s largest margins of support for Obama.

As of Thursday, he had 59 percent in the county. He’s doing better only in King, Thurston, Jefferson and San Juan counties.

Reporter Scott North contributed to this report.

Reporter Jerry Cornfield: 360-352-8623 or jcornfield@heraldnet.com.

2008 Presidential Race
City Obama McCain Lead
Arlington 2,761 2,286 475
Bothell 3,621 2,161 1,460
Brier 1,786 964 822
Darrington 220 186 34
Edmonds 11,611 5,722 5,889
Everett 17,030 9,022 8,008
Gold Bar 293 245 48
Granite Falls 489 364 125
Index 66 14 52
Lake Stevens 2,818 2,071 747
Lynnwood 6,788 3,333 3,455
Marysville 6,026 4,669 1,357
Mill Creek 3,921 2,906 1,015
Monroe 2,235 1,769 466
Mountlake Terrace 4,456 1,774 2,682
Mukilteo 4,960 2,835 2,125
Snohomish 1,806 1,210 596
Stanwood 1,004 1,005 1
Sultan 569 503 66
Woodway 310 285 25
Unincorporated East 20,296 16,329 3,967
Unincorporated North 15,896 13,461 2,435
Unincorporated South 28,262 15,666 12,596
Totals 137,224 88,780 48,444
2008 Governor’s Race
City Gregoire Rossi Lead
Arlington 2,491 2,599 108
Bothell 3,219 2,598 621
Brier 1,623 1,165 458
Darrington 193 209 16
Edmonds 10,808 6,594 4,214
Everett 15,829 10,583 5,246
Gold Bar 288 260 28
Granite Falls 445 428 17
Index 62 18 44
Lake Stevens 2,502 2,434 68
Lynnwood 6,329 3,874 2,455
Marysville 5,531 5,285 246
Mill Creek 3,405 3,437 32
Monroe 1,969 2,101 132
Mountlake Terrace 4,124 2,151 1,973
Mukilteo 4,371 3,475 896
Snohomish 1,662 1,398 264
Stanwood 971 1,062 91
Sultan 545 554 9
Woodway 271 321 50
Unincorporated East 18,152 18,938 786
Unincorporated North 14,532 15,370 838
Unincorporated South 25,097 19,081 6,016
Total* 124,419 103,935 20,484

* Auditor excluded from canvass results 17 Gregoire votes, 24 Rossi and 1 write in.

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