EVERETT — The two candidates for Everett mayor knew going into Tuesday night they were unlikely to get final answers.
“We’ll just wait and see and wait it out,” Judy Tuohy said from her campaign’s party downtown.
Tuohy was ahead of Cassie Franklin Tuesday in the contest to become the first woman elected to the mayor’s job in Everett’s history. They each acknowledged it could take several days to determine the winner.
Tuohy led Franklin by 49 votes in early results. Tuohy received 44.8 percent, a half-percent higher than Franklin.
“We’re very hopeful …” Franklin said from her campaign party, a few blocks from Tuohy’s. “It’s been a tight race the entire time.”
The two City Council members are seeking to succeed Mayor Ray Stephanson who’s led the city since 2003 and chose to retire rather than seek re-election.
Another 10.9 percent of the votes were cast for a write-in. Most of those are presumably for Everett business owner Gary Watts who conducted a write-in campaign. His votes will only be tallied if the total number of write-in votes exceeds the other two candidates.
Election officials expect to release the next tally of ballots around 5 p.m. Wednesday. It’s not yet known how many more votes will be counted.
Snohomish County Auditor Carolyn Weikel said they won’t know until Wednesday how many ballots got placed in drop boxes on Election Day. Also, ballots mailed back Tuesday have yet to arrive, she said.
As of Tuesday night, 8,905 ballots had been tallied. Another 1,500 were in hand as of Tuesday morning, according to election officials.
In addition to the mayor’s race, three City Council members faced challengers.
Councilman Paul Roberts received 66.5 percent to give him a commanding lead on Leland “Lee” Dart for Position 1.
Incumbent Councilman Jeff Moore had 54.6 percent against challenger Alex Lark for Position 2.
For Position 3, incumbent Scott Murphy is on track for re-election as he garnered 66.8 percent against Jennifer Hesse.
In Everett, the race for mayor dominated the electoral landscape and, as of Tuesday, the year-long battle is one of the most expensive campaigns ever for the job.
Tuohy and Franklin had raised a combined $280,000 as of Tuesday. Add in what Brian Sullivan and Shean Nasin collected in the primary plus what Watts is investing and the amount of money getting spent to pick the city’s next leader is roughly $460,000.
The winner will take the reins of leadership at a critical juncture.
More people are moving into the city every day and this growing population is searching for housing and demanding services. Meanwhile, chronic issues related to homelessness, mental illness and drug-addiction made concerns about public safety a central focus of the campaign.
Tuohy, 63, is in her third year on the City Council. She won a short term on the council in 2014. The next year she won a full four-year term and is now halfway through it.
She is an Everett native and since 1995 has served as executive director of the Schack Art Center.
She campaigned as the hometown candidate. That’s important in Everett. Stephanson and his predecessor Ed Hansen shared the same roots.
Tuohy finished second in the August primary, edging out third-place finisher Sullivan by 63 votes. Sullivan, a Democratic Snohomish County Councilman, endorsed Tuohy and campaigned for her. That likely helped push some of his supporters her way.
Tuohy also garnered backing of the county Democratic Party, the Everett firefighters union and an alliance of progressive organizations — all of which had endorsed Sullivan in the primary.
Sullivan was met with a round of applause at Touhy’s party. He said he was confident Tuohy would maintain her lead.
“It’s not over yet,” he said. “The future of Everett is at stake.”
Tuohy and Franklin are both good candidates, but the firefighters union hopes Tuohy prevails, said Don Schwab, who is on the executive board.
Tuohy had raised nearly $151,000 as of Tuesday, according to online records from the state Public Disclosure Commission. She had reported $82,801 in spending, a figure certain to rise when all the bills are paid.
Franklin, 46, was elected to the City Council in 2015 and, like Tuohy, has two years remaining on her term.
She was hired in 2011 to be chief executive officer of Cocoon House, the nonprofit, which provides shelter and services for young people. Earlier this year she stepped down from that role to focus on the campaign.
On the campaign trail, she asserted that her work at Cocoon House made her better prepared to handle challenges posed by opioid addiction and homelessness. She considered those two of the most significant social issues facing the city.
Born in Twin Falls, Idaho, Franklin grew up in Eugene, Oregon. She lived in Seattle before moving to Everett four years ago with her husband, David, a computer engineer, and their daughter.
In this race, she received the backing of Stephanson and Bob Drewel, a former Snohomish County executive and ubiquitous political figure. She also had public support of moderate Republicans such as Everett City Councilman Scott Bader and Marysville Mayor Jon Nehring.
She raised nearly $129,000 and had spent most of it as of Tuesday, according to records filed with the state.
Watts, 75, who called Everett “Tweakerville” on his business’ reader board in July, launched a write-in campaign for mayor in September. As of Tuesday, he had reported spending $27,410 on his campaign.
City of Everett
City Council Position 1
|Leland (Lee) Dart||2,775||32.81%|
City Council Position 2
City Council Position 3
|Scott D. Murphy||5,641||66.80%|
|Jennifer A. Hesse||2,761||32.69%|