Gough leads in Lynnwood mayor race

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

LYNNWOOD — Voters signaled that they wanted change in the mayor’s office, according to the early Election Day returns.

Don Gough, a Lynnwood attorney and 10-year councilman, appeared to be successful in his attempt to unseat Mayor Mike McKinnon. Gough led McKinnon 1,703 votes to 1,017 on Tuesday night.

“What I am is humbled and grateful for it really appears that people want Lynnwood moving forward. I am obviously offering a positive program of ideas that will give us a chance to move forward,” Gough said. “This election was about the city winning and moving forward.”

Gough, who lost to McKinnon four years ago, said McKinnon e-mailed him a concession.

“He was very gracious in his concession e-mail,” Gough said.

McKinnon, a self-employed accountant who sought a second term, declined to comment on election night.

The Snohomish County Auditor’s Office will continue counting ballots next week. The county must certify the races by Nov. 29.

Lynnwood is a strong mayor city so whoever wins will exercise a considerable amount of influence. As the city’s top administrator, the mayor supervises about 365 employees, manages day-to-day operations and crafts a draft budget for the city council to consider.

McKinnon, a councilman for 12 years until he was elected in 2001, and Gough have been rivals ever since Gough was elected. The disagreements between the two have centered more around approach to the job than differences on particular issues.

McKinnon has said that Gough and other council members sabotaged him by cutting his budget proposals and being sharply critical of him in public.

During McKinnon’s term as mayor, the city completed the Lynnwood Convention Center and approved the City Center plan to create a downtown.

Gough and others, however, point to the departure of the city’s directors of finance, parks and public works and four assistants to the mayor in the past four years as evidence of McKinnon’s inability to manage.

Gough said he is ready to get to work. But now that the election is over, he’s taking a few days off to rest and be with his family.

“I need to refuel,” Gough said.

Smith, Ross pull ahead

For the city council, newcomer Mark Smith, a former travel-business owner and teacher, leaped ahead of incumbent Martin Nelson, a retired civil engineer, with about 62 percent.

“I am certainly grateful to the people of Lynnwood and I look forward to serving them,” Smith said. “I want to take my hat off to my opponent, Marty Nelson, and thank him truly for his years of service to the city,” Smith said.

Nelson wanted to serve a second term so he could continue working on city development projects, like the City Center. Nelson could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

Incumbent Ruth Ross defended her seat from challenger Bob Young. Ross netted about 62 percent of the vote Tuesday night.

“I think that speaks well for my record,” Ross said. “I have a lot of work to do and I can’t wait to get started.”

Young said it was tough to challenge an incumbent, especially an incumbent endorsed by local newspapers.

“I don’t think I had much of a chance once all of the newspapers came out to support the incumbent,” Young said.

But Young is still waiting for the final results. If it is a close race, Young said he will consider running again.

Bill Sheets, a Herald reporter, contributed to this report.

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