A two-man tussle is shaping up at the top of the Snohomish County ballot this year.
Democrat Aaron Reardon will have to fend off Republican Mike Hope, a state representative, if he is to win a third term as Snohomish County executive.
Duels also loom for the two County Council members up for re-election.
Meanwhile, an abundance of candidates could make for spirited mayoral contests in cities such as Edmonds, Arlington and Marysville.
A week-long filing period ended at 5 p.m. Friday.
Everett may not have a mayor’s race in 2011, but there is a tug-of-war for four City Council positions. There’s also a six-way battle royal for an open seat on the Everett School Board.
Several county races, on the other hand, appear headed toward default victories. Of the nonpartisan offices, only the assessor faces two challengers. A slate of other incumbents faces no one at all, including the sheriff and three other non-partisan posts.
“It’s a lot easier to run this way than to have challengers,” said Treasurer Kirke Sievers, the county’s most seasoned politician.
Sievers is running his 10th political campaign and is the second generation of his family to hold the treasurer’s job. He’s running for his second term as treasurer now, but previously held the job for 21 years starting in the mid-1970s.
The primary is Aug. 16, but not all candidates will appear on those ballots. If a race is nonpartisan, it won’t be there unless more than two candidates are running.
Partisan races, where candidates declare party affiliation, always appear on the primary ballot, even if only one person’s running.
The general election is Nov. 8. In this election cycle, Democrats are overwhelmingly defending seats held by incumbents in their party. Republicans are hoping to capitalize on voter dissatisfaction.
“I think the executive’s race is going to be particularly interesting,” said Bill Phillips, chairman of the Snohomish County Democratic Party. “It’s going to be Mike Hope’s rhetoric versus Aaron Reardon’s record of accomplishment.”
His GOP counterpart couldn’t disagree more.
“There’s been more people than normal standing up here because, frankly, there’s a lot of people who are tired of where the country is at and want to step up and do something about it,” said Bill Cooper, the Republican Party’s Snohomish County chairman.
On the Snohomish County Council, Democrat Stephanie Wright will face Republican Kathy Vaughn, a Snohomish County Public Utility District commissioner. They’re competing to represent District 3, covering Lynnwood, Edmonds and Woodway.
Wright, a former Lynnwood city councilwoman and public school librarian, was appointed to her job in August. Vaughn, who’s also from Lynnwood, owns the mortgage company Goldmark Financial.
First-term County Councilman Brian Sullivan, a Democrat, faces competition from two Republicans: Glen Sayes, who like Sullivan lives in Mukilteo, and Jason Mills of Everett. District 2 covers the Mukilteo and Everett areas.
Sullivan is a former Mukilteo mayor and state lawmaker who has worked in the restaurant business, among other jobs. At the County Council, Sullivan has kept tabs on Paine Field, where he opposes commercial air service. He’s also interested in the county’s infrastructure, open spaces and historic preservation.
Sayes, a professional photographer who until recently owned a local studio, said he was encouraged to run because of his business experience. If elected, he said his priorities would be “jobs, jobs, jobs.” He’s never held political office and last year failed to make it out of the primary, when he ran for the seat held by state Sen. Paull Shin, D-Edmonds.
Mills, a buyer for an electronics company, said he entered the race when he saw that a Democratic incumbent was unchallenged.
Two-term County Assessor Cindy Portmann of Snohomish faces a challenge from Betty DeLay of Arlington and Chris Vallo of Lake Stevens.
Portmann’s office has improved online tools and tried to maintain customer service in the face of staffing cuts since 2008.
DeLay, a real estate agent and Boeing Co. employee who used to serve on the Darrington Town Council, said she wants to better match assessed property values with the real estate market. Vallo did not immediately return a call for comment.
Other nonpartisan elected officials in Snohomish County government face no competition: Auditor Carolyn Weikel, Clerk Sonya Kraski, Sheriff John Lovick and Sievers, the treasurer.
Everett School Board
An open spot on the Everett School Board has drawn an electoral mosh pit of a half-dozen hopefuls. The field for the board’s Position 5, a districtwide position, includes Pam LeSesne, a retired Navy captain who lost to Jeff Russell in a race for School Board Position 3 in 2009. Other candidates include Pamela Key, Mary Ann Elbert, Rodman Reynolds, Casey MacPherson and Cris Larson, all of Everett. Terms on the Everett School Board are for six years. Kristie Dutton, who has held the job for 12 years, is not running again.
Appointed mayors in Marysville and Edmonds are trying to hold on to their jobs in the face of rivals.
Marysville Mayor Jon Nehring was appointed in August after Mayor Dennis Kendall retired. Kelly Wright, who served on the city’s salary commission from 2003 to 2009, also is running.
Edmonds Mayor Mike Cooper is trying to hold on to the job he’s had since July, when the City Council picked him from a pool of applicants to replace the previous mayor, Gary Haakenson.
The job opened up after Reardon, the county executive, hired Haakenson as his top administrator. Haakenson recently endorsed Cooper’s opponent, Dave Earling, who served on the Edmonds City Council from 1992 until 2003. Earling ran an unsuccessful race against Reardon for Snohomish County executive in 2003. Cooper’s other challenger, Roger Hertrich, is a former city councilman and longtime city watchdog.
Candidates have flocked to fill Arlington Mayor Margaret Larson’s job since her recent announcement that she would not seek reelection. Six people jumped in, including a city councilman, the Arlington Fly-In director and the son of a former mayor.
In Lake Stevens, Mayor Vern Little is seeking re-election against challenger Arnold Clark. Little was appointed mayor of the city in 2006 and won the 2007 election.
And finally, for the Index Town Council, the candidate with the catchiest nickname is running unopposed: Sean “Spare Rib” Horst.
Noah Haglund: 425-339-3465, firstname.lastname@example.org.