Sam Low (center) and Nate Nehring (right) thank supporters at an election night gathering at the Buzz Inn Steakhouse in Lake Stevens after initial results showed both leading their respective Snohomish County Council races on Tuesday. (Ian Terry / The Herald)

Nehring and Low lead their respective County Council races

Primary election 2017 results

EVERETT — Nate Nehring has made a strong case with voters to keep an appointed seat on the Snohomish County Council, if early results from Tuesday’s primary are any clue.

Initial results showed the Stanwood Republican with 39 percent of the votes tallied in County Council District 1.

“I’m really pleased, really encouraged by the trust the voters have placed in me,” Nehring said.

Nehring was followed by Democrat Ray Miller, with 35.5 percent. Republicans Chris Ihler and Robert Sutherland trailed with 15.2 percent and 10.1 percent, respectively. The top two candidates will advance to the Nov. 7 general election.

In County Council District 5, incumbent Sam Low, a Republican, carried 55.7 percent of the initial primary tally. Democrat Kristin Kelly, with 32.2 percent, was on her way to challenging him in November. Another Democrat, Tara Schumacher, got 11.8 percent.

Tuesday night’s totals, released shortly after 8 p.m., included 16.8 percent of the ballots issued. Elections officials expect turnout to reach 24 percent to 25 percent, when they’re done counting. Updated numbers are expected around 5 p.m. Wednesday.

Nehring, 22, turned heads in January when he won an appointment to the council over more experienced rivals. He was in his first year teaching middle school science and making his initial foray into politics. The District 1 seat covers north Snohomish County, including Arlington, Marysville, Darrington, Granite Falls and Stanwood, as well as nearby unincorporated areas.

Nehring stayed positive during a primary campaign in which his Republican rivals, especially Ihler, attacked his work experience and questioned whether he benefited from his father Jon Nehring’s position as Marysville’s non-partisan mayor.

Miller, 67, is a retired Air Force veteran and a substance-abuse counselor. The Marysville resident was elected to the county’s charter review commission and appointed to its human rights commission.

Council District 5 covers east Snohomish County, from the outskirts of Everett up through the Skykomish Valley. It also takes in Lake Stevens and the unincorporated Maltby area.

Low won a special one-year term representing the district last year over Hans Dunshee, a former Democratic state lawmaker who had been appointed to the job. Low previously served on the Lake Stevens City Council and ran a painting business.

Kelly, the executive director of the Pilchuck Audubon Society, is an environmentalist with a long record of facing off with developers over land-use issues.

In a third county race, both candidates will advance to November election. Incumbent County Councilman Terry Ryan received 67.8 percent of the ballots counted Tuesday, compared to 31.9 percent for opponent Marcus Barton. They’re competing for Council District 4, which covers Brier, Mill Creek and Mountlake Terrace, part of Bothell and the fast-growing unincorporated area of North Creek.

Ryan, a Democrat, lives in Mill Creek and has a background in commercial real estate. Before winning his first county council term four years ago, Ryan served 17 years on the Mill Creek City Council.

Barton’s website says he’s a U.S. Army veteran who works as a logistics manager for a recycling company. The Republican is making his first run for public office.

The County Council drafts laws and must past a yearly budget each fall. Terms last four years. The job pays an annual salary of $117,534.

More than 150,000 people live in each of the five geographical districts.

Noah Haglund: 425-339-3465; Twitter: @NWhaglund.

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