Counting continues, Brier races too close to call

  • Jenny Lynn Zappala<br>Enterprise editor
  • Monday, March 3, 2008 6:51am

The apparent election winners for Lynnwood, Mountlake and Brier city council held onto their leads, but two Brier races remain too close to call, according to unofficial election results on Monday.

Only two votes separated John Fisken, with 737 votes, and Martin Krienke, with 735 votes, in the race for Brier City Council position 2.

Brier Councilman Dale Kaemingk, who gained about 3 percent since early returns on election night, nudged a little closer to his opponent, but challenger Marc Olsen maintains a slim lead. As of Monday, the vote was 762 for newcomer Olson and 708 for incumbent Kaemingk in the race for Brier position 5.

For Monday’s tally, the Snohomish County Auditor’s Office counted 42,123 ballots cast at the polls and 101,273 absentee ballots.

County officials estimated that about 30,000 absentee ballots remain to be counted before the election is certified on Nov. 29.

If the Brier races remain too close to call, an automatic recount is likely.

By law, county officials must recount the ballots by machine if the difference between candidates is less than half of a percent and fewer than 2,000 votes. A recount by hand is required if the difference is less than a quarter of a percent and fewer than 150 votes.

Lynnwood Mayor Mike McKinnon gained about 3 percent as county officials counted ballots last week, but it wasn’t enough to catch up to his opponent, City councilman Don Gough, who retained 60 percent of the vote. As of Monday, the count was 3,558 votes for Gough and 2,371 votes for McKinnon.

If Gough becomes mayor, he will step down from the Lynnwood City Council on Dec. 31. The council can choose someone to finish his term, which will end in 2007.

City council president Loren Simmonds said the council, which is working out the details, will likely seek formal applications from anyone who is interested in filling the position. If that is the case, the council will make applications available to the public, he said.

Lynnwood councilman Marty Nelson, who lost to newcomer Mark Smith, could be asked by the council to fill Gough’s council seat. Nelson is considering it if there is no legal or ethical conflicts and the council asks him to apply, he said. If not, he will seek a place on another city commission or advisory board.

“I was quite disappointed because I feel I can contribute substantially to the city,” Nelson said. “I will do something in the way of community service.”

Nelson, with 39 percent, lagged behind newcomer Mark Smith, with 61 percent, in Monday’s results. The race, which is for Lynnwood Council position 2, was 3,329 to 5,443 in Smith’s favor.

“I think Mark will do a first-class job,” Nelson said. “He has good ideas. He is very capable.”

Lynnwood councilwoman Ruth Ross defended her seat, which is position 3, from newcomer Bob Young by about 62 percent to 38 percent. Ross and Young attracted 3,239 votes to 1,988 votes, respectively.

In Brier, mayoral candidate Bob Colinas maintained a comfortable lead with 63 percent even though his opponent, councilman Gary Morgan, gained about 2 percent and ended with about 36 percent by Monday.

If Morgan loses, he will retain his seat on the Brier City Council until 2007.

Colinas, who is also a Brier councilman, said he intends to take office as mayor as soon as the election is certified on Nov. 29. He can make the move early because the current mayor, Gary Starks, was appointed by the council and did not seek re-election, he explained.

Colinas said he expects the position as Brier mayor will be a part-time job as it has been for previous mayors. He will keep his full-time job as the city of Lynnwood’s Park Operations Superintendent.

In the race for Brier council position 1, Councilman Carlton “Skip” Gipson, with 59 percent, remained ahead of his challenger, Anne Cavazos, with 41 percent.

Terrace council newbie

In Mountlake Terrace, the council will welcome one new member despite four contested races.

Newcomer Michelle Angrick apparently secured her place in position 3. Angrick held 50 percent of the vote compared to challenger Eric Teegarden, with about 44 percent. The seat is open because Councilwoman Jamie Gravelle decided against running for re-election.

Mountlake Terrace Mayor Jerry Smith of position 2, Councilwoman Angela Amundson in position 1 and Councilman Doug Wittinger in position 4 stayed ahead of their opponents even though the competition put up noticeable resistance.

In Mountlake Terrace the mayor is elected by the council. The council will pick a new mayor in January after the new councilmembers start their terms on Jan. 1.

Of the three Mountlake Terrace incumbents, Mayor Smith enjoyed the widest margin between himself, with 58 percent, compared to newcomer Lorayne Ham, with 41 percent.

Amundson retained 56 percent of the vote compared to challenger Michael Jones, with 43 percent.

Dennis Nick, who ran for Brier position 3, Ona Gem who ran for Brier council-at-large, and, and Lynnwood councilwoman Lisa Utter were unopposed.

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