Election 2019: Nelson leads Tibbott for mayor in early returns; Buckshnis, Olson, Johnson and Paine ahead in council races

Mike Nelson speaks to supporters at Salt & Iron after initial votes are announced. (Photo by Larry Vogel)

Edmonds City Councilmember Mike Nelson had a 279-vote lead over fellow Councilmember Neil Tibbott in the race for Edmonds mayor, according to day one of general election results released Tuesday night by the Snohomish County Elections Office.

The two current Edmonds city councilmembers are vying to replace two-term Edmonds Mayor Dave Earling, who is not seeking re-election.

Nelson received 52% of the votes released Tuesday — a total of 3,549 — compared to 48% (3,270 votes) for Tibbott.

Mike Nelson with wife Erica. (Photo by Larry Vogel)

In a gathering with family, friends and supporters at downtown Edmonds’ Salt & Iron, Nelson thanked everyone who helped his campaign, but especially “the love of my life” — wife Erica, along with his campaign manager Heather Damron. He also thanked fellow Edmonds City Councilmember Adrienne Fraley-Monillas “for her steadfast support.”

“I am so excited to serve as your next mayor,” Nelson said. “Thank you for your support, and thank you for joining with me on this journey together to brighter days ahead.”

Nelson 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 to represent the 21st District. Nelson was then elected to the council position in 2015 and re-elected in 2017. He has the endorsement of Peterson and fellow 21st District Rep. Lillian Ortiz-Self, along with 32nd District State Reps. Cindy Ryu and Lauren Davis and Snohomish County Democrats. His campaign has focused on a range of accomplishments during his time on the city council, including support for safe gun storage laws, rejection of cuts to fire station staffing, establishment of a Youth Commission and Edmonds’ first wheelchair-accessible playground, a commitment to environmental protection, and his opposition to the now-defunct Waterfront Connector project.

Neil Tibbott with his wife Margaret, dad Dean and mom Anne at Cafe Louvre. (Photo by Julia Wiese)

Tibbott, who gathered with about 100 supporters at downtown Edmonds’ Cafe Louvre Tuesday night, said he looks forward to seeing what the results show on Wednesday. Running for mayor, he added, has been a “humbling” experience. “So many people contributed so much,” he said. “To be a candidate in the city of Edmonds is really great.”

Tibbott supporters gather at Cafe Louvre. (Photo by Julia Wiese)

Tibbott 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. He has been endorsed by current Mayor Earling as well as by mayors of several surrounding cities, as well as members of the port commission, planning board and economic development commission. His campaign has stressed Tibbott’s independence from special interests and his goal to keep Seattle-style politics out of Edmonds.

In the race for three open city council seats — one of them vacated by Tibbott so he could run for mayor — Edmonds Tree Board member Vivian Olson was leading Edmonds Planning Board member Alicia Crank for council position 5, garnering 60% of the vote in early returns. Olson, who joined supporters at Portofino Restaurant, called the campaign “a gift regardless of the outcome. I am grateful to everyone who talked to me on the campaign trail and was part of my education this past eightmonths; their insights, knowledge and friendships that are now mine because they took the time.”

Vivian Olson gets a hug from daughter Paige as the first results come in. (Photo by Larry Vogel)

Also at Portofino with supporters was Diana White, candidate for city council position 6. White, now current president of the Edmonds School Board, is leaving the school board and running against former School Board member Susan Paine. While White was trailing in Tuesday’s initial results, she said that “Edmonds is in good hands no matter what the outcome. Win or lose, I’ll be busy and active in the community,” she added.

Diana White with daughter Sydney.

In a gathering at Salish Sea Brewing, Paine — who received 54% of the first-day vote count — said she was “hopeful but nervous” about the results. “I think it’s going to be a close election,” she said. “It’s been a lot of fun and I’ve learned a lot. It’s been wonderful.”

Susan Paine with Carmina Caoile, a former intern of Paine’s at Seattle City Light. (Photo by Julia Wiese)

In position 7, Edmonds Historic Preservation Chair Laura Johnson was leading Edmonds Planning Board member Nathan Monroe, garnering 52% of the first-day votes. Johnson joined family and friends at Salt & Iron, while Monroe watched the election results with supporters at Cafe Louvre.

Edmonds City Council President Adrienne Fraley-Monillas, left, congratulates Laura Johnson.
Candidate Nathan Monroe with wife Jordan. (Photo by Julia Wiese)

Council positions 5 and 6 are currently held, respectively, by Councilmembers Dave Teitzel and Tom Mesaros, who are not seeking re-election. Position 7 is Tibbott’s current seat.

Meanwhile, the only council incumbent running for re-election — retired banker and Edmonds Marsh advocate Diane Buckshnis in Position 4 — had a solid lead over challenger Jenna Nand, a business attorney, in Tuesday’s returns. Buckshnis received 3,966 votes (62%) to 2,440 votes (38%) for Nand.

Diane Buckshnis and supporters at Gallagher’s. (Photo by Larry Vogel)

Buckshnis, who gathered with supporters at Gallaghers’ Where U Brew at Harbor Square, issued a statement expressing her appreciation for the support she’s received — both during the campaign and during her past nine years on the city council. “It’s been an honor representing Edmonds, promoting Edmonds traditional values and character,” she said. “That is, after all, why we live here and what we love about Edmonds.”

In the race for Edmonds Port Commissioner, both candidates — David Preston in District 2 and Jim Orvis in the at large position — were running unopposed.

Carin Chase
Gary Noble

In the three positions on the Edmonds School Board of Directors, position 1 incumbent Carin Chase had a large lead over challenger Alvin Rutledge, earning 13,059 votes (82%) to 2,708 votes (17%) for Rutledge.

Position 3 incumbent Gary Noble was the top vote getter with 63% (10,212 votes), over district parent and gun violence prevention advocate Rory Graves, who garnered 37% (5,924 votes) in early returns.

In position 5 — an open school board seat now held by Diana White, who is running for Edmonds City Council —former Edmonds School District Administrator Nancy Katims was leading Snohomish PUD manager and district parent Lisa Hunnewell, receiving 10,955 votes (68%) to 4,993 votes (31%) for Hunnewell.

Nancy Katims

“I am truly humbled by the confidence voters are placing in me,” Katims said in a statement. “Our schools are grappling with major challenges — budget shortfalls, stagnant test scores, persistent inequality– and the next school board will play a pivotal role in improving the lives of students and families. I’m ready to roll up my sleeves and get to work every day to ensure all our kids can reach their full potential.”

In the race for South Snohomish County Fire and Rescue RFA Board, Chris Teofilak led Ted Hikel for Commissioner District 1, Greg Urban was ahead of Nicholas Guillickson for District 2, Mark Laurence was leading Andrew C. Engelhard for District 3, incumbent David Chan was ahead of challenger Bret Chiafolo for District 4, and incumbent Jim Kenny was leading challenger Brandy Donaghy for District 5.

Note that only those living in unincorporated areas or the City of Lynnwood vote for South County Fire Commissioner.

Also running unopposed was one candidate for Hospital District 2 — Jim Distelhorst for position 5. In Hospital District 2 position 3, incumbent Bob Knowles was ahead of challenger Susan Schoeld in early returns.

While there were several countywide races on the ballot, one in particular applied to Edmonds voters: Snohomish County Council Position 3 incumbent Stephanie Wright — who represents Edmonds and Lynnwood — was leading challenger Willie Russell, receiving 79% of the vote in early returns.

Vote totals will continue to be released daily as more mail-in ballots are counted. The general election will be certified by the county on Nov. 26.

General election results reported as of Nov 5, 2019

City of Edmonds Mayor 

Mike Nelson 3549 51.84%

Neil Tibbott 3270 47.77%

Write-in 27 0.39%

Total 6846 100.00%


City of Edmonds Council Position 4 

Jenna Nand 2440 37.88%

Diane Buckshnis 3966 61.56%

Write-in 36 0.56%

Total 6442 100.00%


City of Edmonds Council Position 5 

Alicia Crank 2644 40.45%

Vivian Olson 3874 59.26%

Write-in 19 0.29%

Total 6537 100.00%


City of Edmonds Council Position 6 

Susan Paine 3504 53.83%

Diana White 2982 45.81%

Write-in 23 0.35%

Total 6509 100.00%


City of Edmonds Council Position 7 

Nathan Monroe 3097 47.62%

Laura Johnson 3389 52.11%

Write-in 17 0.26%

Total 6503 100.00%

Edmonds School District No. 15 Director District 1 

Carin Chase 13059 82.33%

Alvin Rutledge, Jr. 2708 17.07%

Write-in 94 0.59%

Total 15861 100.00%


Edmonds School District No. 15 Director District 3

Gary Noble 10212 63.08%

Rory Graves 5924 36.60%

Write-in 52 0.32%

Total 16188 100.00%


Edmonds School District No. 15 Director District 5 

Nancy Katims 10955 68.33%

Lisa Hunnewell 4993 31.14%

Write-in 85 0.53%

Total 16033 100.00%

Port of Edmonds Commissioner District 2 

David Preston 2722 98.69%

Write-in 36 1.31%

Total 2758 100.00%


Port of Edmonds Commissioner-at-Large Position 4 

James W. Orvis 2703 98.65%

Write-in 37 1.35%

Total 2740 100.00%

Hospital District 2 Commissioner Position 3 

Susan Schoeld 7051 42.39%

Bob Knowles 9524 57.25%

Write-in 60 0.36%

Total 16635 100.00%


Hospital District 2 Commissioner Position 5 

Jim Distelhorst 13950 98.91%

Write-in 154 1.09%

Total 14104 100.00%

South County RFA Commissioner District 1

Chris Teofilak 7805 57.47%

Ted Hikel 5707 42.03%

Write-in 68 0.50%

Total 13580 100.00%


South County RFA Commissioner District 2

Greg Urban 6795 50.64%

Nicholas Gullickson 6557 48.87%

Write-in 65 0.48%

Total 13417 100.00%


South County RFA Commissioner District 3

Mark Laurence 8056 60.79%

Andrew C. Engelhard 5117 38.61%

Write-in 80 0.60%

Total 13253 100.00%


South County RFA Commissioner District 4 

Bret Chiafalo 5898 43.58%

David F. Chan 7578 55.99%

Write-in 59 0.44%

Total 13535 100.00%


South County RFA Commissioner District 5 

Brandy Donaghy 3955 29.11%

Jim Kenny 9568 70.42%

Write-in 64 0.47%

Total 13587 100.00%

— By Teresa Wippel with reporting from Julia Wiese and Larry Vogel


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