Election ‘09 Gough, Smith lead mayor’s race

  • By Oscar Halpert For the Enterprise
  • Tuesday, August 18, 2009 11:08pm


Mayor Don Gough was breezing into the November general election in early primary election returns Tuesday with 38 percent of the vote.

Gough’s closest challenger was long-time Councilman Jim Smith with 24 percent.

Councilwoman Lisa Utter followed with nearly 21 percent of the vote while Councilman Loren Simmonds received 15 percent.

Only the top two vote-getters will advance to the general election Nov. 3.

Gough was elected mayor in 2005 after serving on the council for 10 years. His relationship with the council was often tense and his opponents in the race have been critical of his leadership style.

He did not return telephone calls late Tuesday.

Smith, who ran unsuccessfully for mayor several times, including in 2001 and 2005, is a 22-year council veteran who has been critical of the mayor. He was critical of the city approving a bond for a $26 million reconstruction of the recreation center.

“One of the purposes of this race was to get some messages out,” he said. “People are starting to recognize that the administration has been over-taxing the citizens of Lynnwood.”

Utter, 47, a 12-year council veteran, said she was surprised Smith had received as many votes as he did.

“I was a little surprised at Jim, just because he really wasn’t running a serious campaign,” she said. “I didn’t think he’d be ahead of me.”

Simmonds, 66, and a 10-year council veteran, had criticized Gough for not working out of his office at City Hall often and said the city had lapsed into a “we-versus-them attitude.” He ran an unsuccsessful campaign for mayor in 2001.

Voter turnout Tuesday appeared lower than expected.

Snohomish County Auditor Carolyn Weikel thought at least a third of the 368,000 registered voters would participate. But Tuesday she lowered her prediction to 25 percent.

About 70,000 ballots from throughout the county were tabulated Tuesday with another 20,000 expected to be counted in the coming days. Most of the uncounted ballots are those put in drop boxes or mailed on Election Day.

Results of ballots tallied today will be posted around 5 p.m.

Primary results must be certified by Sept. 2.

Oscar Halpert writes for the Herald of Everett.

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