EDMONDS — Both candidates for Edmonds mayor say the November election will be a tough battle despite challenger Dave Earling’s big lead in the primary.
Incumbent Mike Cooper says that the two candidates will start over in the general-election campaign, and Earling says that Cooper is a formi
Earling held a lead of 53 to 35 percent in the Aug. 16 primary. The election is expected to be certified this week.
Both candidates say they are running as though the race is much closer.
That’s because both candidates recognize that they still need to appeal to the thousands of people who didn’t vote in the primary but who will vote in November.
In the 2009 Edmonds election, 5,110 more people voted in the general election than did in the primary. In 2007, the last mayoral election year, 5,586 more people voted in the general election than in the primary.
Both figures are far more than Earling’s 1,352-vote primary lead over Cooper.
Cooper said Monday that he expects to win most of the 8 percent of the vote that went to candidate Roger Hertrich in the primary and more from those thousands of additional November voters who didn’t cast ballots in the primary.
Hertrich, who was eliminated in the primary, said last week that he would make a contribution to the Cooper campaign.
Cooper said that he and Earling start the general-election campaign with the score “tied at zero” because primary votes don’t carry over to the general election.
He said that he has a plan to get his message out and to “make sure the voters hear the rest of the story.”
Earling has criticized Cooper for a lack of executive leadership since the City Council appointed him in the summer of 2010 to replace former Mayor Gary Haakenson, who resigned to become deputy county executive.
Haakenson has endorsed Earling, as has another former mayor, Barb Fahey.
Cooper left a position representing southwest Snohomish County on the County Council to accept the appointment as mayor. He earlier was a Democratic member of the Legislature.
Earling said Thursday that Cooper will be a formidable general-election opponent because of his name recognition from having been on the ballot “nine times in 18 years” as a candidate for Legislature and County Council.
“That means I will be running a very strong campaign, just as I did in the primary, to win this race and bring leadership back to Edmonds city government,” Earling said. “Edmonds voters spoke loud and clear in the primary, and I appreciate their support in giving me a 14 percent lead.”
Earling won election to the Edmonds City Council in 1995 and 1999 before losing as the Republican candidate for county executive against Democrat Aaron Reardon in 2003.
Earling has a big financial advantage, having reported raising $35,411 and spending $26,735 through Thursday to Cooper’s $13,358 raised and $8,274 spent.
Evan Smith can be reached at email@example.com