Brett Rogers, left, and Jason Cummings.

Brett Rogers, left, and Jason Cummings.

Cummings wins handily in Snohomish County prosecutor race

Jason Cummings, the chief civil deputy prosecutor, was challenged by former cop Brett Rogers, who pledged to be tougher on crime.

EVERETT — Amid persistent rhetoric about rising crime, Snohomish County voters appeared to side with a top civil deputy prosecutor over an outside Republican with a tough-on-crime approach and little courtroom experience in the race for prosecuting attorney.

Jason Cummings, a Democrat, was leading Brett Rogers 57.7% to 42.2% after Tuesday’s vote count. Cummings had over 104,000 votes to Rogers’ 76,000.

The winner will replace Adam Cornell, who chose not to seek re-election after a single four-year term. In 2018, Cornell ran unopposed.

Cummings emphasized his experience over Rogers, a former Seattle cop who lives in Lake Stevens. This could be Rogers’ third failed run in as many years, losing a race for attorney general in 2020 and a run for Lake Stevens School Board in 2021.

The prosecutor’s job is a powerful one. It’s the prosecutor who decides which cases merit criminal charges, oversees the county’s civil attorneys and helps craft local justice policies.

And here in Snohomish County, the prosecutor’s job is increasingly complicated as COVID-19 wreaked havoc on the justice system, creating backlogs thousands of cases long that can leave defendants and victims waiting years for resolution.

Meanwhile, some locals are pushing for tougher action on crime. More than a dozen mayors banded together last month to call on state lawmakers to give police more help.

Cummings, an Edmonds resident, recently told The Daily Herald he wants to deal with the “root causes” of crime. Part of that is expanding the office’s Therapeutic Alternatives to Prosecution program and pushing the state to increase resources to help people with mental illness or substance use disorder.

Cummings earned endorsements from Snohomish County Executive Dave Somers, Cornell, Everett Police Chief Dan Templeman, Snohomish County Council members Megan Dunn, Nate Nehring and Sam Low, and other elected officials from both sides of the aisle.

Rogers said he wanted the prosecutor’s office to more quickly charge suspects with crimes, argue for heftier sentences and push judges for higher bail.

“Things are trending in the wrong direction,” Rogers said. “I think the people of the county really want the justice system to take a stand and say, ‘No, you committed a crime, you deserve to pay the penalty for it.’”

Jake Goldstein-Street: 425-339-3439; jake.goldstein-street@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @GoldsteinStreet.

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