Nelson leads Tibbott in early returns for Edmonds mayor; Noble and Katims ahead in school board race

Mike Nelson
Neil Tibbott

Mike Nelson or Neil Tibbott? That may be the decision facing Edmonds voters in November after the two current Edmonds City Councilmembers were leading the field following the first day of primary election results from the Snohomish County Auditor’s Office, released at 8 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 6.

The top two vote getters in all primary races will advance to the general election in November. Vote counts will be updated daily as more mail-in ballots are received by the county elections office.

The primary election will be certified by the county Aug. 20.

Nelson and Tibbott topped a group of four primary candidates that included Edmonds City Councilmember and former transportation planner Kristiana Johnson and current City of Edmonds Planner Brad Shipley.

Nelson received 44% of the votes released Tuesday — a total of 3,316 votes — compared to 29% (2,214 votes) for Tibbott. Johnson came in third with 16% or 1,199 votes. Shipley received 867 votes or 11%.

Two-term Edmonds Mayor Dave Earling is not seeking re-election.

“I am humbled and appreciative of our citizens’ strong support of our campaign,” said Nelson, who spent the evening watching results privately with family and close friends. “I look forward to a meaningful discussion on the future of Edmonds in the following months.”

Noting that the results won’t be certified until Aug. 20, Tibbott told supporters gathered at Demetris restaurant Tuesday night that he was “very encouraged by the results.” Being mayor “is a serious job with serious consequences for our city,” Tibbott said, adding he is looking forward “to the opportunity to personally meet with residents of Edmonds as they consider their choice leading up to the general election in November.”

Nelson, 44, is the executive director of the Service Employees International Union Washington State Council. He has served on the council since being appointed in 2015 to replace Strom Peterson, when Peterson was elected to the Washington State Legislature. Nelson was then elected to the council position in 2015 and re-elected in 2017.

Tibbott, 61, runs a human resources consulting firm. He is finishing up his first term on the council after defeating incumbent Lora Petso in 2015. Before that he served on the city’s Planning Board.

Primary results were also released for Edmonds School Board of Directors Position 3 and 5 candidates. As of Tuesday night, Position 3 incumbent Gary Noble was the top vote getter with 46% (8,045 votes) with challengers Rory Graves and Jennifer Cail receiving 20% of votes each. Of the final two challengers, Mary Schultz received 8% or 1,464 votes while Boe Lindgren got 900 votes or 5%. (You can see all results in tables below.)

“I would like to sincerely thank the community for their continued support of our school district and my candidacy,” Noble said in a statement. “I truly believe in the power of public schools and I hope to continue to represent you on the school board.”

In position 5 — an open seat because current School Board member Diana White is not seeking re-election — Nancy Katims led the field of five candidates with 8,961 votes (54%) while opponent Lisa Hunnewell came in second with 3,734 votes or 22%. Challenger Rina Maile Redrup received 2,412 votes (14%), while Casey Auve earned 1,516 votes or 9%

“I am honored by the confidence voters are placing in me, and I look forward to carrying our message forward to the November election,” Katims said in a statement. “Tonight’s results make it clear that voters share my sense of urgency about student learning in the Edmonds School District. We are now one step closer to a school board energetically focused on student success for all.”

In the other race facing Edmonds voters, Snohomish County Council Position 3 incumbent Stephanie Wright was leading both her challengers, with 78% of the vote.

Primary results reported as of Aug. 6, 2019

City of Edmonds Mayor 

7,687 ballots received

30,557 registered voters, turnout 25.16%

Mike Nelson 3316 43.55%

Neil Tibbott 2214 29.08%

Brad Shipley 867 11.39%

Kristiana Johnson 1199 15.75%

Write-in 18 0.24%

~ ~ ~ ~

Edmonds School District 15 

18,748 ballots received

104,753 registered voters, turnout 17.90%

Director District 3

Gary Noble 8045 46.06%

Jennifer Cail 3451 19.76%

Boe Lindgren 900 5.15%

Mary Schultz 1464 8.38%

Rory Graves 3535 20.24%

Write-in 70 0.40%

~ ~ ~ ~

Director District 5 

Lisa Hunnewell 3734 22.34%

Rina Maile Redrup 2412 14.43%

D.P (Casey) Auve III 1516 9.07%

Nancy Katims 8961 53.60%

Write-in 94 0.56%

The next set of results is scheduled to be released at 5 p.m. Aug. 7.

— By Teresa Wippel 



51 Replies to “Nelson leads Tibbott in early returns for Edmonds mayor; Noble and Katims ahead in school board race”

    1. Thank you for identifying one of dozens of clients I’ve done work for over the last 25 years. I provide career assessments and hiring strategies for many groups including churches, denominations (of many stripes), schools, non-profits and some businesses. I’m a certified HR professional through Birkman International and have worked with hundreds of organizational leaders from every corner of our country. I am proud of my growing consulting practice which I started about the same time as running for City Council so that I could dedicate more time to my city. So when it is reported that I run a HR consulting firm, it is quite transparent. I hope this helps you have confidence in my experience and commitment to organizational excellence. I appreciate your interest in my campaign and hope that I will earn your vote.


  1. Congrats to both. I look forward to both Nelson and Tibbott sharing their vision for Edmonds. This is a key election.


  2. As a parent in the Edmonds School district, I am deeply concerned about the direction our district has been moving. My prayer is that new members of the school board keep in mind that our children’s education is not about political talking points. It is about teaching them to read and write, and to be proficient in mathematics and critical thinking skills. Hopefully with the retirement of the current superintendent, the district can re-focus itself on it’s purpose. Education. Not children who parrot the political leanings of any group, left or right.


    1. Agreed. A great teacher will educate, not indoctrinate. A great parent will educate, not indoctrinate. When we see issues through an objective lens instead of through a political party lens, we gain ground…and we actually prepare tomorrow’s leaders on HOW to think…not WHAT to think.


      1. Having lived through the “equity summit” last fall with my daughter, I can say that the content was by and large very alarming. It wasn’t about equity at all. Not every group who is discriminated against was represented. It was about teaching kids to use words like womxn and ze. I take my responsibilities as a parent seriously, and have taught my children to be kind to everyone, regardless of what they look like, or what they believe. That is my job. Not the school’s job.


        1. There’s been a decades long anti-masculine trend in education. There needs to be more men teachers, more vocational [blue collar] opportunities. Equity in Education is a rabbit hole of weirdness. People who discuss and advocate it have never had their ideas challenged.


  3. I want to know which candidate will cut City spending and cut our taxes, because skyrocketing taxes are undermining the affordability of everyone’s housing.


  4. I was about to vote for Mr. Nelson when I reviewed listing of those folks supporting Mr. Tibbot.
    My vote was changed to Mr. Tibbot.


    1. I believe that you made a good decision, Ray. There’s so much smoke around Mr. Nelson that there must be at least some fire.
      When Mr. Nelson was appointed to city council there were clearly much better qualified applicants for the open position. But some council members mistakenly preferred him solely because he was (is) an active member of the democratic party. The legislature some time ago enacted an RCW that required city elected positions to be non-partisan. As it relates to Edmonds, Democrats largely heeded that RCW until eight or nine years ago. We need to get back to those days when the most qualified candidates are selected, without regard to their party affiliation.

      RCW 29A.52.231
      Nonpartisan offices specified.
      The offices of superintendent of public instruction, justice of the supreme court, judge of the court of appeals, judge of the superior court, and judge of the district court shall be nonpartisan and the candidates therefor shall be nominated and elected as such.
      All city, town, and special purpose district elective offices shall be nonpartisan and the candidates therefor shall be nominated and elected as such.


      1. Edmonds City Ordinance 3689 requires a 1 year hiatus between being a city official and engaging in lobbyist activities. Mike was appointed while at the same time a lobbyist for a group that the City had contracts with. Mike did not disclose this conflict of interest in his application or interviews.


        1. Matt:
          If you can prove these allegations are you taking them up with the appropriate authorities?
          Even more smoke around Mr. Nelson; certainly not someone who should be an elected official.


        2. Ron, what authorities?

          I pulled Mike’s application with the Clerk, no mention of his day job. I’ve asked former Council Members (who are voting for Mike and are inclined to say that he did disclose his other political activities), but they said they wouldn’t answer. That’s a textbook ethical dilemma. I have an open question on this out to Council Member Adrienne (our council president) via email and she forwarded it onto the City Attorney. I also asked in that email if there were any discussions among council members about the Attorney General investigation and fine of Mike’s activities. SEIU losing their contract with the City appears to be a risk mitigation method. I asked the clerk for information as to why the SEIU contract wasn’t renewed and there were no reasons found (not to say there aren’t legitimate reasons, but it would be handy if there were, I always have to give the benefit of the doubt). I followed through with Collective Bargaining arbiter, and I am waiting to hear back.

          If anybody wants a copy of the email thread, email me at


        1. I have some serious ethical issues with Tibbot/Earling too. The Edmonds BID (Ed!) was not established per the law and the City has been assessing taxes on business against the law. This ***scam*** is Earling’s baby and Tibbot supports it. I plan on writing about that in an op-ed shortly. I plan on assisting a potential class action against the City to get the businesses their money back. Again, if anyone wants a succinct email thread describing this, email me a

          There should be calls for Mike Nelson to explain the Attorney General punitive action against him, and the conflict of interest with the SIEU.

          Brad Shipley was the progressive, competent, independent candidate everyone says they want but were too chicken to vote for. It’s very hard to get elected UNLESS you have a scandal that gives you name recognition.


  5. I just wanted to elaborate on what Mr. Ron Wambolt said, but pardon me if I’m too transparent, ” I smell a rat”! ” If it smells like a rat, then it probably is a rat”! Whew…. There is something sneaky about Mr. Nelson that he is playing the flute and you are all following his tune. The fact that Mr. Nelson leads Mr. Tibbott with only 25% of voters casting votes means nothing at this primary juncture.
    Please don’t demonize Mr. Tibbott because of his Faith. Would you demonize an LBGTQ person? Would you demonize an African American? Is Mr. Nelson a man of Faith? Mr. Nelson, if you read this then please go on the record and state if you are/are not. Then this accusation can become moot!
    Do you see how easy it is to get caught in the election hysteria? It can be pretty exhausting! Look at the candidates. Neil Tibbott and his Wife, Margaret, raised their Family is Edmonds. He has been here a lot longer than Mr. Nelson. That should count for something.
    When my son went missing on Mount Baker 3 years ago, the person I most trusted to help me find a way to cope with the possibility that my son had died, was Neil. Just his genuine friendship and his just being there made a huge impact in the outcome. This is what he can do with the City of Edmonds. He cares enough to do the right, ethical things. He will nurture Edmonds like he does his own Family.
    As for Mr. Nelson, I do not know of him personally. He probably is a good Family man as well. Again, what do we know about Mr. Nelson?
    Please remember to be considerate and transparent. After all, this is just my opinion. I endorse Mr. Tibbott as the next Mayor of Edmonds. Everyone in Edmonds should do the same.
    Good luck!


  6. And the mud slinging fest begins starring all the usual suspects. Edmonds culture is alive and well. Some things will never change. Personally I’m going camping and ignore this coming ugly process as much as possible.


  7. Matt:
    Perhaps its a matter for the Public Disclosure Commission. It might be worthwhile contacting them if you already haven’t.


    1. Thanks Ron. I will look into that. I’m learning as I go really. I’m super surprised that no source asked Mike about the Attorney General punitive action against him and his group leading into the Primary.


  8. Matt, Are you stating that men are discriminated against in the public school system are discriminated against? 77% of school superintendents are men so I doubt very much that is the case. Its a pipeline issue – fewer men choose to enter the profession. I don’t understand your problem with equity in education. Numerous studies show the benefit. Equity in education is a “rabbit hole of weirdness”? Inequity is the more desirable state?


    1. I’m not proposing an argument that has a dichotomy, and I can’t argue in favor of points I’m not making. I don’t believe men are being discriminated against by women teachers. You’re 100% correct, just like how ladies generally don’t like STEM, men generally don’t like being K-12 teachers. People pursue careers they enjoy. People self discriminate and there’s nothing wrong with that. That said, if I google “Equity in STEM”, I’m sure I’ll find a lot of information that builds a case that men are discriminating against ladies in STEM fields. I own an engineering company and I’m clubbed over the head with that rhetoric often. That narrative is pervasive, and if we take that logic to it’s conclusions, and we add a bit of humor, ladies are obviously discriminating against men teachers.

      Then there’s the pathology. Just about every criminal in prison, just about every mass-shooter, is a boy that either had no dad, or had a dad that was a poor influence. In this regard I’m being self critical of fellow dads. Considering that the K-12 education system is providing fewer masculine outlets, fewer male role models, that it’s a system we are all but forced to put our boys through, then one could say there’s a problem that’s systemic, or maybe even institutionalized against boys. A clinical solution to this demonstrable disenfranchisement is to add more male teachers [back] into K-12. I’d favor a PR program that incentivized male involvement over an affirmative action system. It’s not the mandate of the education system to provide male role models, but there is a problem. Lord of the Flies would of been a boring story had there been one male adult on the island, an even more boring story if it were all girls. Testosterone is a powerful drug.


  9. Matt my dude you didn’t answer the question. What is your problem with equity in education? Woman working in engineering company asking here. As an aside – if you do oversee a company of professionals as you say you need to stop saying “ladies”. Its dismissive and condescending. This ain’t the 1950s anymore my dude.


    1. I’ll always say ladies and gentlemen. “Guys” supposedly is condescending now too. It’s too Orwellian.

      No one is for leaving children behind, but that feeling doesnt encapsulate the merits of “No Child Left Behind” as a policy. Equity [fill in the blank] is a mantra created in communist universities, then disseminated out into our schools. The language is newspeak, the methods are counterproductive and the reasoning trespasses into racism.

      This TED is a fair advocate of Equity in Education. It doesnt take long for it to identify whiteness as the antagonist. It also sets up a victimhood mentality at the most impressionable age.

      I explained in another thread that it’s not the fault of girls that boys experience inequity in reading and in post secondary education. The antagonist idea is not true. Also, the idea that the teachers need to preemptively give different education to students based on race or gender is eyebrow raising. If a kid needs more help, give more help. Dont aggregate their race with their test scores. Dont grade on a racial bell curve either. Physcologists who study race, intelligenceand mobility proceed into that field very carefully, as it is a vehicle of racism and eugenics even. Teachers aren’t equipped to tinker with this.

      The Greivance Studies Hoax, I feel, actually identifies the source of these ideas. “Ladies” isnt newspeak, but “Equity” certainly is.


    2. Dennise, ..continued, I’m pretty happy you’re genuinely interested in this. Speaking as an atheist, a news junkie obsessed with science, it is interesting to learn about the religious-esque underpinnings of Equity, Intersectional Theory, Partisan Politics even. In regards to “Ladies”, these scientists [25 minutes in] explain how political correctness is the blasphemy mechanism in a religious construct.


    3. Denise, I seriously had no clue the term “Ladies” was considered derogatory in some circles. I’ve used the term often with no visible cues of disgust…my apologies for offending without knowing it. It was a term I was encouraged to use by both my grandparents and parents…and I often slip and fall into my military training and call women, “ma’am.”

      Your statement encouraged me to do some searching. I’d be curious to know your thoughts on this point of view:


      1. Mike – my first reaction to the article you linked is that I detest flow charts, but that’s just me.

        But I think I know how you feel, on more than one occasion I have found myself wondering how I had no clue about a particular language habit. Fortunately I’ve been surrounded by strong and intelligent women who have helped me evolve on this topic along the way. I recently used a term in the presence of my wife and I (suddenly) evolved a little more.

        I really don’t think that there’s a point to be made that these terms are necessarily derogatory, disgusting or even offensive. I do believe in the concept of best-practices, and that when it comes to language each type of situation we’re in probably has a specific vocabulary set that works best. In my office there can be times when I’m firm about removing gender from the conversation. For example if a patient, either male and female, refers to an employee as lady or gal or girl, I typically correct them, usually offering terms like manager or therapist. But then, when I enter a treatment room to a mom and her two young daughters, I’m more apt to say something chill like, “hello ladies” or if a father and his son, “hello boys, how are you doing today?”

        I’ve never been in military service, but I also often like using the terms, ma’am and sir.


        1. I’m in agreement that one needs to certainly have situational awareness and be open to learning. I find myself seeking clarity often…”help me understand,” “walk me through…” And yes, even, “I’d be curious to know.”


      2. I’m noticing that the flowchart doesnt instruct women on the proper use of “Dude” and “my lad”. I was able to win debate with Denise by ignoring her ad hominem, which made her blow up (see below). In our society men who get bent out of shape too easily are usually arrested, but women who are prone to irrational emotion outburst have the loudest voice and biggest platform. What sort of strong person cant handle being called a lady?

        Two notes, my comments are heavily moderated by Terresa. I’ve got a couple fan-emails from women that dont mind being referred to as a lady.


        1. The only comments being “heavily moderated” are those involving candidates. Just to be clear.


        2. Your terms of service is a moving target. Public figures are fair game, whereas private people aren’t.

          I sort of feel bad that folks on one campaign are blaming your platform of maligning them instead of actually confronting the aforementioned legal findings that were highlighted. I very much apologize for that.


      3. Hi Mike. Thanks for sharing the article and chart. Its obviously tongue in cheek but its pretty accurate in my opinion. The jist is if you don’t want to offend or be creepy, then “woman” is your best bet ( if you need to be gender specific). You all, folks and people are my go to because why make assumptions or call out someone’s gender if you don’t have to? And please avoid “you guys” unless you are 100% sure the group all identifies as male (my pet peeve). The most interesting part of the article for me was when she wrote about what groups of women call themselves. A group of women can call themselves whatever they want, that doesn’t give anyone else the right to call them that. The same goes for many marginalized groups, Sometimes formerly derogatory terms are co-opted by the group as a way to take power back, but it’s never an invitation for others to address them that way.
        So far we’ve had two men answer your question and I wouldn’t be surprised if more chime in. If you want an informed opinion on how women should be addressed you need a guy to tell you??? SMH.


  10. Matt my lad your explanations don’t hold water. You advocate that we need to increase male teacher ratios because of studies showing the impact of young boys not having educational role models. But the numerous studies on the negative impact on people of color not having educational role models is dismissed as “reasoning trespasses into racism”. You state you always say ladies and gentlemen. If that is the terminology you stuck to above I would have overlooked it as anachronistic individual and let it go. But you didn’t use the term gentlemen once. Instead the nouns you used repeatedly were “men” and “ladies”. Men is an acceptable word to use in professional situations; ladies is not. And you attempt to back up all your claims with YouTube – that universally respected source of trustworthy analysis. Maybe you should recommend this paper switch to that platform as their principal source of information. The most amusing link is your “proof” of the infamous “grievance studies hoax”. The person that worked so closely with the perpetrators and filmed all their derring do can hardly be considered a reliable narrator. The consensus on the stunt was that it proofed entirely different things then the authors thought it proofed:


    Careful, your biases are showing.


    1. We haven’t actually disagreed on anything yet. What need is there to cite sources you’d except if you’re already accepting my opinion? “Its a pipeline issue – fewer men choose to enter the profession.” Men aren’t teachers as often because they don’t want to be. Women aren’t engineers as often because they don’t want to be. Say that out loud around your friends.

      Dangerous Minds was just a movie. A white women from a nice neighborhood will have a more difficult time teaching and relating to kids in urban communities. Because of the artificially high barriers to entry, urban communities cannot produce teachers that can compete with the paper qualifications of white women. I think we seem to agree that teachers should be a cross section of society. Well, why aren’t they? The irony is that I’m the one pointing out the institutional bias, and the bias isn’t in favor of men and boys. I’ve discussed this in three threads, no one seems to disagree that there should be more gentlemen teachers. Universally, people seem to just hate someone saying there should be more men teachers.

      Is Trump the Devil? Don’t be afraid of long-form discussion. The link I gave you is 2-hours long. I also struggle to be objective in truth-finding. A lot of what is discussed below by Dr. Peter Boghossian and others provides an opportunity for some introspection. Equity and Intersectionality is a religion. My use of the word “ladies” (the more formal/professional word for women) is blasphemy. They talk about this:


  11. Matt my Maddie I think you mean you tube junkie. Hate to break it to you lad but it is not the same thing.


    1. When one person writes 8 out of 23 posts on a given topic -– almost 35% of the total – with one post running for no less than 499 words, we may be forgiven for forming the impression that that person ought either to run for the office under discussion, or take over the newspaper. A habit of posting a follow-up comment on one’s latest comment leaves an impression of blurting before thinking, thus perhaps undermining credibility.

      Among the collateral damages of this sort of behavior is that other posts are crowded off the page before others get to read them. Too often, persistent posting by one individual has the effect of silencing others – unless one has the time and patience to check the website over and over during the day.

      Having to say something is not the same as having something to say. Dominating a discussion by sheer volume (499 words in one comment – really?) comes very close to proving the impression that “Be civil? Not me.” makes.

      Disraeli in another context described a person as “A sophistical rhetorician, inebriated with the exuberance of his own verbosity, and gifted with an egotistical imagination that can at all times command an interminable and inconsistent series of arguments to malign an opponent and to glorify himself.”


  12. So what policy differences are there between Mr. Nelson and Mr. Tibbott? I haven’t seen anything yet to explain why a vote for either would be good for Edmonds. Maybe we should focus on what they propose to do as Mayor?


    1. The city council sets policies; the mayor implements those policies. Voters should focus on the qualifications of each candidate to do the job. The mayor must prudently manage an annual budget of more than $100 million and oversee 235 employees.


  13. Mr. Wambolt cuts right to the chase here and I agree with him totally on this approach to the election. Personally, I will be looking for good answers to budget questions and which desired projects by the citizenry are the candidates priorities. Does the candidate favor bonding over pay as you go, for instance? Does the candidate think bonding is a good way to go, for what could be deemed a necessary project vs. “wouldn’t it be nice to have projects.” What would the candidate tend to base his decisions to hire and fire on? Can the candidate accept criticism and change gears on a pet project, if that looks like the proper course after more study and contemplation of the problem?

    Since both our Mayoral candidates have a voting history as council members, we need to look at past votes and their reasoning for them. Actions always speak louder than words. My vote will tend to go to the candidate who’s votes most reflect my views on the various issues we have faced in the past and will probably face in the future. I’m looking forward to civil debates and a positive race by these two gentlemen and have by no means made up my mind yet as to which I will vote for.


  14. OK then how do the qualifications of Mr. Tibbott and Mr. Nelson to be Mayor distinguish them? What is the relevant difference in these two candidates? We’ve had a pretty issue-free campaign so far. I’d sure like some hard info on who would make a better Mayor.


    1. Interested in knowing what would help readers make their choice for mayor and how My Edmonds News can help? There will be some group candidate forums and meet-and-greets with both mayoral and city council candidates present, starting after Labor Day — sponsored by the Edmonds Neighborhood Action Coalition (ENAC), Alliance of Citizens for Edmonds (ACE) and the Edmonds Chamber of Commerce. Would you like to see another mayoral debate? What about some Facebook Live interviews with the candidates where you can submit questions? Candidate coffees? One-on-one video interviews? We are happy to reach out and ask the candidates if they are willing to participate in these types of events if you think they would be of value — and we have the technology and track record to do them.


      1. Would you make this a separate post? I think some people have tuned out of this article based on some of the previous comments.


  15. The biggest issue in town always seems to be money and taxation. There are a lot of “wants” on the table right now and not a whole bunch of excess funds to support them from what I can discern from our media coverage and public meetings of the past year in particular. I would say the best way to bring out the issues is to ask each candidate to write a position statement as to what he/she (might want to get the council wannabees on the record too, before we vote) sees as the priorities of projects being contemplated by the city by his or her view of necessity and importance. Then they should be asked how they would propose to fund each project to get the job done and what sort of time frame they see as crucial to these projects.

    Looking at the Mayoral position in terms of being the chief executive they should both be asked to write a position statement on how they plan to find and hire good employees, how they plan to interact with the employees after they are hired, how they feel about patronage vs. specific civil service criteria for filling the various jobs? Do they think it is best that they have the power to hire and fire at will or be required to document cause for the hiring and firing at all positions? How big should the HR department be and how many employees does it need? Should salary and wage
    surveys be done in house or out?

    Having people put ideas and planned actions down on paper prevents a lot of cheap and easily forgotten campaign rhetoric. There’s a record when you put it in the Beacon and on MEN for all to read, save and refer to later. Meet and greets and rallys really aren’t that helpful when you are trying to drill down to the nitty gritty of how someone will Govern.


  16. Clint, You are very correct that the wish list of places top spend money exceed the money. Talk is cheap but projects are not.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *