EVERETT — A poll conducted by Judy Tuohy in early September showed her a couple points ahead of Cassie Franklin in what would be a very close duel for Everett mayor.
On election night, Tuohy led by a slim 49-vote margin. That seemed to reinforce the survey’s findings.
After two more rounds of tallying, her lead stood at 19 with 12,557 ballots counted.
Then everything changed.
On Friday Nov. 10, another 4,266 were tallied. This mix of ballots, most of which arrived by mail or were deposited in drop boxes on Election Day, went largely Franklin’s way and she moved in front by 169 votes. Her lead peaked at 199 on Nov. 13 and is at 198 ahead of Tuesday’s scheduled certification of results that will make her victory official.
Franklin, the mayor-elect, has received 7,815 votes, or 44.7 percent, to Tuohy’s 7,617 votes, or 43.5 percent. There have been 2,068 write-in votes, most of those presumably for Gary Watts, the registered write-in candidate.
She will succeed the retiring Mayor Ray Stephanson and become the first woman elected mayor in the city’s history. She will be sworn in Jan. 3. Tuohy will continue serving on the City Council where she has two years remaining on her current term.
At the time she took the lead, Franklin chalked it up to her supporters’ tendency to vote late. It happened in the primary, too. She trailed Tuohy in the initial tally but wound up finishing first in the four-candidate contest.
Where did the decisive votes come from? To figure out where some of the bigger vote shifts occurred in the critical Nov. 10 count, the Herald analyzed precinct results from tallies done Nov. 9 and Nov. 15.
In that period Franklin went from trailing to leading in eight precincts. Significant vote swings in a couple of them provide big chunks of her lead.
In precinct 86, an area along Holly Drive around Challenger Elementary School, Franklin was behind by five votes then went up by 23, a net gain of 28 votes. In precinct 27 along Evergreen Way south of 41st Street, she turned a five-vote deficit into a 21-point advantage, a net gain of 26 votes.
There were three precincts in which the candidates were tied before the influx of votes put Franklin ahead. In one of those, precinct 18, which covers an area from Broadway to Marine View Drive between Hewitt and 25th Street, Franklin went up 16 after receiving 60 votes to Tuohy’s 44.
Tuohy did pick up six precincts that had been in Franklin’s column, the analysis found. Her reversal of fortunes came about with smaller votes swings.
She achieved a net gain of 10 votes in a smaller precinct, 85, around Hannabrook Park, where she turned a one-vote deficit into a nine-vote lead. In precinct 36, which is in the area of Broadway between 73rd St. SE and Madison Street, she went from trailing by eight to leading by two.
Tuohy’s largest net gain, 21 votes, helped her nearly double her advantage in precinct 24 in the heart of the city. It starts at Forest Park and heads south, taking in homes between Pigeon Creek and College Avenue.
Where they did best
Franklin won 53 of the city 95 precincts while Tuohy claimed 38. They tied in two and the results were masked in two others so small that elections officials took that step to protect voter privacy.
Write-in votes didn’t take any precincts, but in many cases they reached or exceeded the difference between Franklin and Tuohy.
Franklin dominated in the city’s north end, winning all but four precincts north of Hewitt Avenue plus two others in the heart of downtown.
Between Hewitt and Highway 526, Tuohy won more precincts. She achieved some of her largest margins in the Boulevard Bluffs, Darlington and Edgewater areas.
Both found pockets of support in the city’s southern flank, south of Highway 526.
For Franklin it came in southeast Everett, in precincts along I-5 and in the area of Casino Road. For Tuohy, it came in the city’s southwest corner, its industrial areas and along the bluffs.
In search of Sullivan supporters
Following the primary, a key target for the two candidates were voters who backed third-place finisher Brian Sullivan, a Democratic Snohomish County Councilman. That’s because there were a lot of them.
Sullivan garnered 3,884 votes, or 29 percent. He won 28 precincts outright with his best showings coming in the south and west reaches of the city. This segment of the electorate represented a potential wellspring of support for Franklin and Tuohy, and eventually Watts.
Tuohy and Franklin each found success in places where Sullivan ran strong, the analysis found.
Tuohy, who received Sullivan’s endorsement, won 16 of those 28, with most in the city’s south end. This accounted for nearly half of all the precincts Tuohy won. Franklin captured 11 and they tied in one.
The Watts factor
Watts received write-in votes in every part of the city but his tally is not evenly dispersed.
In terms of percentage, Watts did best in Lowell neighborhood precincts, with a little more than 21 percent. He did his worst in the north and south ends of the city hauling in less than 10 percent.
He did about the same in the Casino Road neighborhood — an area marked by poverty, crime and low voter participation — as he did in Northwest Everett. That neighborhood has less crime, more wealth and some of the highest turnout anywhere in the city, according to an analysis by Ben Anderstone of Progressive Strategies NW, who did provide consulting services for the Franklin campaign. Write-ins accounted for about 8.8 percent in each of those neighborhoods, the analysis found.
No voters, no mandate
Only a third of Everett’s 53,835 registered voters helped choose the city’s next mayor. This in spite of a year-long campaign in which candidates collectively spent around $475,000 vying for attention and support.
The low turnout may have proven more costly for Tuohy because she outperformed Franklin in precincts with higher levels of participation.
Tuohy won four of the five precincts in which turnout exceeded 50 percent. The margin of difference averaged 29 votes and in the precinct around Everett Junction and the Rucker Mansion she beat Franklin by 59 votes.
The two candidates each won about the same number of precincts with turnout under 20 percent, and there were several.
Snohomish County Auditor Carolyn Weikel last week expressed disappointment at the 33 percent turnout in the city. She had thought it might reach 40 percent when the candidates began filing to run earlier this year.
“Regardless of the outcome, I am disappointed that in a room of 10 people, three of them are making the decision for the whole group,” she said. “As a city, are the residents of Everett OK with that?”
The Snohomish County Canvassing Board will meet at 1 p.m. Tuesday to certify the results. The meeting will be held in the office of the county auditor and is open to the public.
How Franklin and Tuohy split the vote
Click on a precinct to explore the data.