Third time, still charmed

  • Chris Fyall<br>Enterprise editor
  • Monday, March 3, 2008 11:57am

Edmonds voters restated their comfort with incumbent Mayor Gary Haakenson Tuesday, electing him to third term with a substantial 66 percent of the vote.

“I am obviously very thankful for all the support from the Edmonds voters,” Haakenson said Tuesday night.

Challenger Mauri Moore, a television producer, garnered 34 percent of the vote.

After Haakenson took 56 percent of the vote in the August primary, Tuesday night’s results might have been anticipated, but that doesn’t mean the race was uneventful.

Moore campaigned hard on a platform of reform. An outgoing Edmonds Councilmember who won her seat in 2003, Moore has been consistently and strongly critical of the mayor and his performance, particularly with respect to the city’s finances.

In the end, voters didn’t seem to find much fault. It would have been hard to, Haakenson said.

“I think my opponent had to manufacture issues. There really weren’t that many,” he said. “I think that has been born out by the voters. They never found any real reason to change.”

The city voted for the track record they knew, the mayor said.

And, according to Haakenson, the results indicate that voters expect more of the same from the mayor and his staff.

“I think the voters are happy with my management and my leadership of the city during the last eight years, and they expect me and my staff to continue down that path,” he said.

Moore said the experience had been positive. She intends to remain active in Edmonds and will “do (her) best to continue serving the city,” she said.

“It is really, really tough to take on a two-term incumbent. He had name recognition and a lot of money,” she said. “I’m really proud of my supporters for taking him on.”

The fact that her messages of impending financial peril never got traction indicates that Edmonds voters think everything is fine, Moore said. They can be excused, she said.

“Superficially, it does look fine,” Moore said. “There has been a Band-Aid approach from year to year, and we have just stumbled along.

“But, I think the mayor is going to face severe problems. He’s made his bed, now he’s going to have to lie in it.”

Throughout the campaign, Haakenson acknowledged that the city’s long-term financial picture is not rosy – if the city stands pat, which it won’t, he said.

In his eight years in office, Haakenson has taken 18 steps to tweak the budget and keep it healthy, he said. Those tweaks will continue, and the city should stay healthy, he maintained throughout the campaign.

Ultimately, the results showed that the voters believed him, he said.

“I am a known commodity. The voters have watched me for eight years,” Haakenson said. “They have witnessed my leadership first-hand. I don’t think they had any good reason to go from that course.”

Talk to us