Challenger Earling outpolls incumbent Cooper in Edmonds primary for mayor

Dave Earling
Mike Cooper

Updated with more candidate reactions

Edmonds mayoral candidate Dave Earling mounted a solid lead over incumbent Mayor Mike Cooper in the primary election Tuesday night. Earling received 3,611 votes, or 54 percent to Cooper’s 2,594, or 38 percent in votes tallied on Tuesday. Former Edmonds City Councilmember Roger Hertrich came in third with 520 votes, or 8 percent. Both Earling and Cooper advance to the Nov. 8 general election.

“We’re absolutely delighted with the results,” Earling said. “There’s a clear understanding that there’s a need for new leadership in town. We think that people want to have the budget addressed and cleaned up, and we have to find a way to generate new long-term revenue sources.”

“The primary results, at least,” indicate a mandate for change, the former Edmonds City Council president said.

Cooper said that while he was “a little disappointed” about the size of Earling’s lead, it was to be expected given the amount of money his challenger spent on the race and “the fact that he went negative.”

“He spent $30,000 and I hardly spent anything while I was going about the business of running the city,” Cooper said. Now the real work begins, the former Snohomish County Councilmember said, noting that his campaign decided from the beginning it would save its money for the general election.

“I’ve faced adversity before, as a firefighter and as a cancer survivor,” said Cooper, who was appointed mayor following the resignation of Gary Haakenson in June 2010. “If he thinks he’s knocked me out, he’s wrong.”

Bob Wilcox
Diane Buckshnis

In the race for City Council Position 4, challenger Bob Wilcox was edging incumbent Diane Buckshnis, receiving 3,020 votes, or 46 percent, to Buckshnis’ 2,879 or 44 percent. Newcomer Tad Helke came in third with 525 votes, or 8 percent. Wilcox and Buckshnis also will face off in November.

The vote tally will change as more ballots are counted on Wednesday.

Buckshnis said that she knew the City Council vote would be close, given Wilcox’s long history in the community. (He recently retired as president of Edmonds-based Wilcox Construction, which was founded by his late father.) “It’s actually quite even,” she said, noting that only 141 votes separated them following Tuesday’s results. “I’m going to work hard and prove to people that I’m worthy of their vote,” said Buckshnis, a former banker and environmentalist who was appointed in January 2010 to fill the seat of the late Councilmember Peggy Pritchard Olson.

Wilcox wasn’t immediately reachable by phone but he did send out a tweet stating, “We are very excited about the preliminary results from the election tonight.”

Political newcomer Tad Helke was philosophical about his third-place finish, realizing that he lacked name recognition to compete against his better-known opponents. But he says he plans to become more involved in city government “and we’ll see what happens in two years,” he said.

In the two positions appearing on the primary ballot for Edmonds School Board, incumbent Gary Noble was easily outpolling all challengers for District 3, receiving 10,544 votes or 72 percent compared to his closest challenger, Boe Lindgren, with  2,270 votes or 16 percent. College student and Edmonds-Woodway High School grad Nathan Yaffee was in third place with 1,639 votes, or 11 percent. In District 5, an open seat because the incumbent isn’t running for re-election, Mark Dillan was leading a group of four candidates, receiving 4,500 votes or 31 percent, followed by Diana White with 3,959 votes or 27 percent. Long-time school district watchdog Mark Zandberg reeived 3,301 votes or 23 percent, followed by Linda Hood with 2,640 votes or 18 percent.

“I’m very appreciative of the support,” said Dillan. “My goal was to make it to the general election so that I’d really have time to go out to schools and talk to parents.”

In the race for Olynpic View Water Commissioner Position 3, Barb Kathol received 608 votes or 35 percent, Mike Harrigan came in second with 585 votes or 34 percent and Ronald Cantu received 531 votes for 30 percent.

  1. The results in the election for Mayor are not surprising. Dave Earling has received a lot of $500 contributions that gave him a huge money advantage and so he had the luxury of getting a lot of mailers, ads and phone calls out early.

    It’s a smart strategy. Most voters don’t take the time to learn anything about the candidates, and are foolish enough to believe what candidates say about themselves in robocalls and mailers. A lot of voters like to vote for the person they think is going to win, so primary totals can influence the results in the general election.

    In the last election for mayor, 14,500 people voted, so Dave Earling got about 25% of the votes expected in November. Edmonds has 26,372 registered voters at last count, so Dave Earling’s total represents 13.6% of the registered voters.

    I hope that the 18,000 registered voters in Edmonds who didn’t vote yesterday make the effort to get informed. Don’t let money decide this election.

  2. It is interesting that prior to the vote money wasn’t going to be a deciding factor, as indicated by Mayor Cooper’s Facebook entry below. Now the mayor’s poor showing is being attributed to the greater amount of money spent by Dave Earling. Money isn’t always a major factor. For example in 2005 I won election by a wide margin while being greatly out spent by my opponent. And look what happened in the most recent governor and senate races in California. I think that some will just have to wake up to the fact that Dave Earling has gotten more votes because he is the superior candidate. And, by the way, there were only 8,914 votes in the last primary (2007) for mayor – there were 14,500 votes in the general election.

    Mike Cooper’s Facebook
    “What a great week! on Wed the members of IAFF local #1828 showed up and walked 12 precincts in one day for me and my friend County Councilwoman Stephanie Wright. We have been under attack with anti public employee mail so having the firefighters out showed our strength. The right wing can throw money at a campaign but they can not beat our shoe leather. Thanks brothers and sisters
    August 12 at 6:56pm”

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