Two voters laugh as they drop off ballots at 3000 Rockefeller Ave. on Tuesday in Everett. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

Two voters laugh as they drop off ballots at 3000 Rockefeller Ave. on Tuesday in Everett. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

Mukilteo voters pick Marine; tight races abound in Snohomish County

Council races heated up in Mill Creek and Lake Stevens. Mukilteo’s mayoral incumbent was headed for defeat.

EVERETT — Lynnwood chose a new mayor.

Mukilteo re-elected an old one.

And in Lake Stevens, four city council incumbents edged ahead of their challengers.

Or, at least, that appeared to be the case based on initial ballot counts from Tuesday’s election.

Around Snohomish County, some voters chose to shake things up, while others opted for the status quo.

Mukilteo voters were poised to elect a past mayor, Joe Marine, and reject the current one, Jennifer Gregerson.

In the Mill Creek City Council races, one newcomer appeared headed for victory. Two council members clung to their seats, and a third was well on her way to re-election.

A longtime Lynnwood City Council member was losing to a colleague in the race to become the next mayor. And a 21-year-old college student was ahead of a former city councilmember, who was seeking another term.

As of 8 p.m. on Tuesday, the turnout was nearly 20% of the county’s roughly 508,000 registered voters.

Top (L-R): Alicia Crank, Kristiana Johnson, Janelle Cass. Bottom (L-R): Will Chen, Neil Tibbott, Adrienne Fraley-Monillas.

Top (L-R): Alicia Crank, Kristiana Johnson, Janelle Cass. Bottom (L-R): Will Chen, Neil Tibbott, Adrienne Fraley-Monillas.

Edmonds

The Edmonds City Council may have a couple new members, according to Tuesday evening’s initial election results.

Kristiana Johnson led with 57.3% of the vote for Position 1.

Johnson has served on the city council since 2012 and has more than 30 years of experience in growth management, transportation and environmental planning.

Alicia Crank had 42.5% of the vote. Crank has decades of experience in public and private sector leadership.

Janelle Cass was leading for Position 2 with 51.8% of the vote Tuesday evening. She spent 12 years working for the Federal Aviation Administration, using her background in civil and environmental engineering on national projects.

Her opponent, Will Chen, runs his own CPA practice in Edmonds and was on the city’s Citizen Housing Commission. He had 48% of the vote Tuesday.

In the race for Position 3, Neil Tibbott was ahead with 67.9% of the vote. He sat on the city council from 2016 to 2019.

Adrienne Fraley-Monillas, the incumbent, had 31.7% of the vote. Fraley-Monillas worked for the state Department of Social and Health Services for 33 years. She has served on the council for 12 years.

Top row (L-R): Kim Daughtry, Michele Hampton, Gary Petershagen, Joyce Copley. Bottom row (L-R): Jessica Wadhams, Steve Ewing, Marcus A. Tageant, Joseph Jensen.

Top row (L-R): Kim Daughtry, Michele Hampton, Gary Petershagen, Joyce Copley. Bottom row (L-R): Jessica Wadhams, Steve Ewing, Marcus A. Tageant, Joseph Jensen.

Lake Stevens

After the first tally, incumbents in Lake Stevens led challengers in the city’s four council races, some by a razor-thin margin.

All of the candidates holding leads had been largely backed by property developer donations.

Navy veteran and incumbent Kim Daughtry was holding onto his seat in Position 1, leading with 56% of the vote against retired attorney Michele Hampton.

Daughtry has lived in the city over two decades and served on the council for more than half of that time. In his last election, Daughtry promised to seek funds to replace the U.S. 2 trestle. He said he has since traveled to Washington, D.C. to advocate for better infrastructure.

He’s the current chair of the Community Transit Board of Directors.

In the contest for Position 2, incumbent Gary Petershagen was leading retired Boeing employee Joyce Copley by 18 bvotes. After the first count, he received 2,171 votes while Copley collected 2,153.

Petershagen, a real estate broker and owner of a small land development company, has served as the liaison to the planning commission in his time on the council. He has advocated for tight marijuana facility regulations and was in favor of blocking safe drug injection sites.

Copley pledged to be accessible to her constituents. She also said she would prioritize environmental health in planning decisions and re-evaluate zoning to meet the needs and desires of her constituents.

Incumbent Steve Ewing led advocate Jessica Wadhams by a comfortable margin after the first tally in the race for Position 6. Ewing, appointed to Mayor Brett Gailey’s former council seat in 2019, garnered nearly 57% of the vote, compared to Wadhams’ 43%.

Ewing had promised to continue advocating for living-wage jobs and affordable housing. He said he will also focus on funding new parks and supporting local schools and libraries.

Wadhams, cofounder of the social justice organization Lake Stevens Black, Indigenous, People of Color and Allies, has been vocal in the city since she became a stay-at-home mom a few years ago.

Incumbent Marcus Tageant, a local realtor, was in the lead by 86 votes in Position 7, in the face of a challenge by Joseph Jensen, a consultant for technology companies.

Tageant took 50.8% of the vote compared to Jensen’s 48.8%.

In his tenure on council, Tageant advocated for the new and upgraded parks, including North Cove and Cavalero. He promised to continue to push for more public safety and more jobs in the city.

Jensen campaigned on his problem solving skills, promising to use them to address systemic city issues.

Jensen said his priorities would hinge on the needs of his constituents. But he was interested in creating safe pedestrian routes, preserving public land for schools, libraries and green space, and re-assessing city policies and procedures to ensure they meet the needs of the fast-growing community.

Top (L-R): Shirley Sutton, Nick Coelho, Naz Lashgari. Bottom (L-R): Patrick Decker, Joshua Binda, Lisa Utter.

Top (L-R): Shirley Sutton, Nick Coelho, Naz Lashgari. Bottom (L-R): Patrick Decker, Joshua Binda, Lisa Utter.

Lynnwood

Councilmember Christine Frizzell was leading the race to become Lynnwood’s next mayor. She had 53.4% of the vote against the council vice president, Jim Smith.

This was Smith’s sixth run for mayor. It was Frizzell’s first. She was elected to the council in 2017. Smith was first elected to the council in the 1980s.

They were running for the open seat as current Mayor Nicola Smith chose not to seek re-election after two terms.

Taxes were one of the key issues animating the campaigns, with Smith pushing to cut vehicle license fees. The city council voted last week to eliminate $40 car tab fees starting in 2023.

A longtime accountant, Frizzell has said she would look to change taxes on small businesses. But “until I sit in the mayor’s seat, I don’t have a specific agenda.”

It appears she will get that chance.

If Tuesday’s results are any indication, the Lynnwood City Council will soon have some new faces.

Josh Binda, 21, a college student and activist, was ahead of Lisa Utter, who served on the council from 1998 to 2009. He had 51.2% of the vote compared to Utter’s 47.1%.

Like many candidates, affordability is Binda’s top priority. He wants to boost renter protections and build more units that take into account circumstances other than income, such as being a single parent, a veteran or a person with disabilities.

Shirley Sutton is barely ahead in her bid to return to the council, with 49.97% of the vote against 49.10% for Nick Coelho, a local small business owner. Thirty-three votes separated them.

In addressing a looming housing shortage, Sutton, 75, has said she would advocate for public housing. She also wants to create a city department focused on economic innovation.

Patrick Decker was winning his race for a term on the council after being appointed in May.

His 58.1% of the vote was besting former Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Commission chair Naz Lashgari’s 41.3%.

A former planning commission chair, Decker wanted more multi-use residential housing with services while preserving single-family neighborhoods. He said he thinks the city needs to work to be palatable to investors.

Top row (L-R): Jeffrey Vaughan, Cindy Gobel, Mark James. Bottom row (L-R): Ambyrlee Gattshall, Tom King, Michael Stevens.

Top row (L-R): Jeffrey Vaughan, Cindy Gobel, Mark James. Bottom row (L-R): Ambyrlee Gattshall, Tom King, Michael Stevens.

Marysville

Jeffrey Vaughan, the longest-serving member of the Marysville City Council, was poised to extend his tenure. He led challenger Cindy Gobel, 58.3% to 41.3%. He ran on his 18-year record of working to manage growth and limit taxes.

Councilmember Mark James captured 79.2% to defeat first-time candidate Ambyrlee Gattshall.

Councilmember Tom King won a second term, garnering 72%. Kevin Gallagher, his opponent, died last month. He received 28% of Tuesday’s vote.

Top (L-R): Nicholas Swett, Stephanie Vignal, Benjamin Briles, Connie Allison. Bottom (L-R): Eric J. Cooke, Brian Holtzclaw, Melissa Duque, Adam R. Morgan.

Top (L-R): Nicholas Swett, Stephanie Vignal, Benjamin Briles, Connie Allison. Bottom (L-R): Eric J. Cooke, Brian Holtzclaw, Melissa Duque, Adam R. Morgan.

Mill Creek

In Mill Creek, one city councilmember appeared likely to lose his seat and two others held narrow leads.

Position 3 Councilmember Benjamin Briles had 45.2% of the vote on Tuesday, trailing behind his competitor, Boeing manager Connie Allison, with 54.7% of the vote.

Briles, a Boeing engineer, was picked to fill a vacant seat on the council last fall.

Allison campaigned as a fiscal conservative, swore off additional apartments in the city and pledged to not raise taxes.

In the race for Position 4, Brian Holtzclaw clung to his seat with 1,366 votes. His challenger, state tax collector Eric Cooke, was close behind with 1,348 votes.

Holtzclaw was first elected to the council in 2013 and also serves as mayor. Both he and Cooke emphasized the need to attract more businesses to Mill Creek in their campaigns.

The new council will have a chance to elect another mayor.

In the race for Position 6, Adam Morgan had 51.4% of the vote, a slight lead over newcomer Melissa Duque, who had 48.4% of the vote.

Duque narrowly won the Aug. 3 primary race, with 1,873 votes, compared to 1,852 for Morgan, who was vying to keep the seat after being appointed last fall.

With a background in marketing and communications, Duque supported more funding for city roads to address residents’ underlying concerns about traffic and future multi-family development.

Morgan ran on a platform of “fiscal responsibility” through “smart planning, controlled spending and innovative revenue solutions,” according to the county’s voter guide.

Newcomer Nicholas Swett was struggling in his bid to unseat Stephanie Vignal, who was chosen to fill Position 2 in 2019. Swett had collected just 907 votes, about half of Vignal’s 1,812 votes.

Vignal has said she remains focused on basic city functions, including protecting parks and planning infrastructure projects to meet the demands of growth in the long term.

Jennifer Gregerson (left) and Joe Marine.

Jennifer Gregerson (left) and Joe Marine.

Mukilteo

Joe Marine is positioned to return to the mayor’s office. On Tuesday, the former mayor and current councilmber was beating Mayor Jennifer Gregerson decisively 58.4% to 41.4%.

“I think it’s clear that Joe will be our mayor next year,” Gregerson said. “It’s disappointing, but I am really proud of my legacy and what we’ve done.”

Gregerson, 43, became mayor when she unseated Marine, 59, with 54% of the vote in 2013. Before that she served on the city council during his two terms as mayor. Marine returned to politics when he won a seat on the council in 2018.

Marine said the rematch gave voters a chance to look at what each accomplished in their respective two terms.

“This time it was literally two mayors with records,” he said. “For voters, it was don’t listen to what we say we’re going to do. Look at what we did.”

Top (L-R): Louis Harris, Peter Zieve, Kevin Stoltz. Bottom (L-R): Tom Jordal, Steve Schmalz, Alex Crocco.

Top (L-R): Louis Harris, Peter Zieve, Kevin Stoltz. Bottom (L-R): Tom Jordal, Steve Schmalz, Alex Crocco.

Meanwhile, one incumbent and one former councilmember were leading their respective races. And another ex-councilman isn’t faring as well in his bid to get back into city leadership.

Louis Harris, the city’s first Black councilmember, was beating Peter Zieve, an aerospace executive who had lost two previous runs for council. Harris, who was appointed in 2020, collected 53.1% to Zieve’s 46.8% in the first night of ballot counting

For Position 2, Tom Jordal, a businessman and first-time candidate, held a small lead on Kevin Stoltz, who served on the council from 2006 to 2013. Jordal led 51.9 to 47.9%. Fewer than 200 votes separate them.

And Steve Schmalz, who spent eight years on the council, enjoyed a 52.4% to 47.2% advantage on first-time candidate Alex Crocco for Position 3.

Schmalz chose to run again after leaving the council in 2019.

Anita Shad (left) and Jim Distelhorst

Anita Shad (left) and Jim Distelhorst

Public Hospital District No. 2.

With 61.7% of the vote, retired Dr. Jim Distelhorst led a down-ticket race for south Snohomish County’s Public Hospital District No. 2, also known as the Verdant Health Commission.

Anita Shad, the vice chair of the Snohomish County Republican Party and a frequent organizer of rallies against the governor’s mask and vaccine mandates, lagged far behind with 37.9% of the vote.

Shad, who also goes by Anita Azariah, posted on Facebook last summer that she got COVID-19 and treated it with ivermectin from a feed store.

Distelhorst, a former family physician and hospital administrator, was appointed to the commission in 2018. He ran unopposed a year later. He is working toward establishing permanent funding for pandemic-related grants and, if elected to a full six-year term, he said wants to continue the hospital district’s health programs.

Contributors to this report included Herald reporters Isabella Breda, Andrea Brown, Jerry Cornfield, Ellen Dennis, Jake Goldstein-Street, Katie Hayes and Rachel Riley.

Rachel Riley: 425-339-3465; rriley@heraldnet.com. Twitter: @rachel_m_riley.

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