South County Politics: Some takeaways from the Nov. 7 election

Results reported from the Nov. 7 general election give early answers to most of the questions that I raised last week.

Here are some comments on the results of local elections around south Snohomish County with other comments coming next week:

Incumbents, incumbents, incumbents

Call it the great confirmation.

South Snohomish County voters showed an unusual level of confidence in their public officials last week by re-electing almost all of them.

All 19 incumbent councilmembers and mayors on the ballot in Edmonds, Lynnwood, Mountlake Terrace, Brier and Woodway have won re-election, as have incumbents running for a school board position, a Snohomish County Fire District 1 position, two places on the Alderwood Water and Wastewater District board, the county council district that includes Mountlake Terrace and Brier, Edmonds Municipal Court judge and two of three places on the Edmonds Port Commission.

Results are unofficial until final certification Nov. 28, but no South County contests are close enough to change.

A split decision in Edmonds Port election

Voters in the Edmonds Port District faced competing slates of candidates – one a group of incumbents, the other of their three challengers. In the end, the voters rendered a split decision.

As of Wednesday afternoon, Nov. 15, voters were retaining appointed incumbent Steven Johnston over challenger Susan Paine by a 53 percent to 46 percent margin and re-electing incumbent Bruce Faires over challenger Lora Petso by a 52 percent to 48 percent margin, while picking challenger Angela Harris over incumbent Fred Gouge by a 53 percent to 47 percent margin.

Harris said Saturday that voters listened to her message, adding, “Every race is unique.”

The three contests drew a lot of interest. Even though they were the last three items on the ballot, each drew votes on at least 94 percent of ballots cast by voters from Edmonds west of 92nd Avenue West, Woodway and nearby unincorporated areas.

Mountlake Terrace intra-council challenge fizzles

Mountlake Terrace City Council incumbent Kyoko Matsumoto Wright got an election challenge from fellow Councilmember Sean Richards, who is in the middle of his own four-year term. He had hoped to win a new four-year term and have a role in appointing someone to fill the position that he now holds.

It didn’t work.

He got little support. Wright had endorsements from several council colleagues, from local Democrats and from the Herald editorial board.

He had said before the election that he hoped to be able to help appoint someone who would bring new blood to the council.

Mountlake Terrace voters, however, show no desire for change. They are re-electing Wright over Richards by a 60 percent to 39 percent margin, re-electing incumbent Rick Ryan over challenger Steven Barnes by a 65-35 percent margin, re-electing incumbent Jerry Smith over challenger Margaret Loiseau 56 percent to 43 percent and incumbent Douglas McCardle running unopposed.

Lynnwood opts for stability

Lynnwood voters are breaking a pattern of throwing incumbents out of office.

It was just two years ago that three Lynnwood council incumbents lost and a fourth barely survived after a recount.

This year, however, they are re-electing all three incumbents on the ballot: Mayor Nicola Smith and Councilmembers Ian Cotton and Ruth Ross.

Smith defeated Councimember George Hurst, who is in the middle of his four-year council term.

One newly elected Lynnwood councimember will replace retiring Councimember Christopher Boyer. Christine Frizzell defeated former Councimember Van AuBuchon.

— By Evan Smith

Evan Smith can be reached at

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