EVERETT — An election season laced with intrigue gets formally under way Monday in communities throughout Snohomish County.
Starting at 9 a.m., candidates can file to run in contests ranging from mayoral races in Everett and Snohomish to seats on the Snohomish County Council, school boards and fire commissions.
In all, 177 offices are up for election this year in the county. Candidates can file online through 4 p.m. Friday and until 5 if they do it in person at the Snohomish County auditor’s office in Everett. There are fees associated with most, but not all, offices.
“Our local districts continue to need qualified, considerate, enthusiastic people to serve as elected officials. I encourage voters to consider stepping up to run for local office,” Snohomish County Auditor Carolyn Weikel said.
While this is an off-year election with no contests for federal or statewide offices on the ballot, there’s plenty at stake because decisions made this fall could reshape the leadership structure in many cities and the county as a whole.
Voters will be filling a majority of seats on the County Council and on city councils in Arlington, Bothell, Brier, Gold Bar, Granite Falls, Index, Lake Stevens, Marysville, Mill Creek, Monroe, Mountlake Terrace, Snohomish, Sultan and the town of Woodway.
And they’ll also be electing mayors in the cities of Everett, Brier, Gold Bar, Lynnwood, Monroe, Mukilteo, Snohomish and Stanwood.
There’s at least one position up for grabs on the board of directors in every school district in Snohomish County. Four out of five director seats are on the ballot in the Snohomish School District and the Northshore School District.
The clash to succeed retiring Everett Mayor Ray Stephanson looms as one of this year’s marquee contests.
The two receiving the most votes will face off in November for a four-year term as mayor.
Sullivan entered the race in January and led all candidates in fundraising with $73,558 through the end of April, according to the state Public Disclosure Commission. The former Democratic state lawmaker and mayor of Mukilteo is in his third and final term on the County Council.
Tuohy, a City Council member since 2014 and its current president, announced her candidacy in February. An Everett native, she is the executive director of the Schack Art Center, formerly the Arts Council of Snohomish County. Her fundraising total stood at $27,747 at the end of April.
Franklin, who won her seat in November by beating longtime incumbent Ron Gipson, is the chief executive officer of Cocoon House, a nonprofit that serves homeless youth. Franklin joined the race a few days after Tuohy and is endorsed by Stephanson. She had collected $36,481 as of May 10.
Already some sources of Sullivan’s campaign funds are attracting interest in the community and from the state agency tasked with enforcing campaign finance laws.
His largest chunk of money comes from individual Everett city firefighters and their union, which has had a long-running beef with Stephanson. Eleven other firefighter unions from around the county and the state also have given to him.
A $10,000 donation Sullivan received from the 38th Legislative District Democrats April 3 is the target of a complaint filed with the PDC.
It is alleged the Everett Firefighters Local 46 made a $10,500 donation to the Democratic Party group March 22 and wanted most of it given to Sullivan’s campaign. The complaint, submitted by email from a Jackie Pryor, asserts it was a “pass-through” donation that the Democratic group failed to properly report as an earmarked contribution.
In a written response and a separate formal declaration, Victor Harris, the group’s finance chair, denied wrongdoing and said the money came from several sources of funding. The legislative district political committee reported raising roughly $14,000 in cash donations between Jan. 1 and the March contribution to Sullivan.
“The complaint is still under review,” PDC spokeswoman Kim Bradford said. “We are in the preliminary stage of the process. The agency has not determined what steps it will take.”
Meanwhile, in the city of Snohomish, voters will be directly electing a mayor for the first time in decades. Years ago, the city ditched its strong-mayor form of government for a council-manager structure. But last fall voters narrowly approved a measure to bring the position back.
So far City Councilwoman Karen Guzak, who opposed the change, and John Kartak, who supported it, are making plans to seek the mayor’s job.
Voters also will be filling five of the seven Snohomish City Council seats. However, there’s not been a lot of interest shown in those contests as only one person, Meagan Gray, had registered with the state as a candidate as of Thursday.
Three of the five seats on the Snohomish County Council are on the ballot this year. Councilmen in those jobs now — Democrat Terry Ryan and Republicans Sam Low and Nate Nehring — are all running.
Ryan is seeking a second term and Low, who won a special election for the seat in 2016, is running for a full four-year term. Neither had an announced opponent as of Thursday.
Nehring, meanwhile, had two: Raymond Miller, a Democrat, and Robert Sutherland, a Republican. Nehring, the son of Marysville Mayor Jon Nehring, had raised $60,018 to Sutherland’s $8,390, through the end of April. Miller got in the race in late April and did not report raising any money in that month.
In Mukilteo, aerospace executive Peter Zieve’s bid for a seat on the City Council could spotlight a traditionally below-the-radar contest. Zieve, president and owner of Electroimpact Inc., opposed the building of a Mosque in the city and his company recently paid $485,000 to settle a complaint brought by the state Attorney General’s Office on the firm’s hiring and workplace practices.
He is taking on incumbent Bob Champion for the Position 2 seat. Champion said Thursday he will seek re-election for a second term.
Another race that could garner attention is for the Position 3 seat on the Snohomish County Fire District 1 commission occupied by David Chan. He’s finishing his second term.
If Chan seeks re-election, he could face questions about a reprimand he received in March for making racially charged comments during a break in a commission meeting.
A complete list of offices up for election can be found at www.snoco.org/elections.
Jerry Cornfield: 360-352-8623; email@example.com. Twitter: @dospueblos.