Snohomish County Sheriff no longer faces a recall vote

Sheriff Adam Fortney

Snohomish County Sheriff Adam Fortney no longer faces a recall vote.  The campaign against Fortney did not submit any signatures by this week’s deadline to force the vote. Recall campaign leader Colin McMahon has said the group has been “hamstrung by the pandemic,” and that COVID restrictions interfered with their recall effort.

The Fortney recall campaign had asked for an extension until June to get enough people to sign on, but a judge on Monday denied the request. They needed 45,000 valid signatures; they have not reported how many signatures they did gather. Snohomish County Auditor Garth Fell said that “no recall petition was submitted” by the deadline. Attorney Mark Lamb represented Fortney. He said he could not speak for the sheriff, but was reassured that the campaign failed.

Fortney was the target of two recall efforts. One never got around to gathering signatures. The second, launched by a group of attorneys in Everett, alleged that the sheriff had “incited” people not to follow Gov. Jay Inslee’s “Stay Home-Stay Safe” COVID-19 orders, and that he had also said he would not enforce the Governor’s order, which is different from the incitement charge. The campaign also charged Fortney violated his duties and unreasonably used his discretion to rehire three deputies that the previous sheriff had fired for misconduct.

Fortney does not face any other legal challenges.




  1. Congratulations Sheriff Fortney and to the Snohomish County citizens who saw through this recall charade. Pure partisan politics by disgruntled Democrats who could not believe their guy lost the election.

  2. Not true Mark. I am a Democrat and have supported the Sheriff from the start. I thought he made the right decision and I’m sure there are others like me. It’s not all black and white when it comes to politics. People are individuals with their opinions that may not follow a certain path. Congrats to the Sheriff and I hope he and his family will no longer feel threatened. Don’t group me with those few.

    1. Irene:

      True not all Democrats supported the specious recall effort of Sheriff Fortney but, the organizers were Democrats and I never saw anything from the Snohomish County Democrat party disclaiming or discouraging the recall effort.

  3. The recall campaign got especially ugly at the end, and I imagine that a large number will be ashamed to have been apart of it because of that.

    I am also a Democrat who certainly did not support this recall. In fact, it is pretty clear that a majority of Democrats did not support this recall by evidence from the lack of people who refused to sign onto it. However, I would imagine that a majority of people who supported the recall were Democrats, just a small portion of them. In that sense Mark was correct, it was just a small section of extremists who are not representative of the vast majority of Democrats.

    Often large groups get defined by the most vocal and extreme of their members. Both because they are the loudest members, and because it is easier for an opposing side to dismiss a large group if you take the most extreme as an absolute representation of the whole. A majority of Republicans did not agree with the the capital rioters, although a majority of them did agree with the election fraud conspiracies that led up to it.

    This whole situation with Sheriff Fortney would have had much better results as a public debate. Honestly Fortney seems like a very nice guy who is open to the public, but he has been understandably hurt by the dishonest violent flyers put out against him. Things were allowed to get to that level, because cooler heads did not step in during the lead up to it. The less we have meaningful conversations with all political sides, the more it empowers the extremists, and the worse it is for everyone.

  4. Hopefully this recall effort has humbled Fortney and shown him that he works for the people, not the other way around. Prior to the recall, I found him to be extremely arrogant when I attempted to communicate with him. When we agreed, he wanted to communicate, when I disagreed with him he disappeared. He was unwilling to listen and learn from those who pay his salary. He could really benefit from the same confrontation recently experienced by Lawless from the task force.

    His Facebook was also a joke as it didn’t represent all county citizens. Anyone who disagreed was bullied and attacked.

    I noticed that during this recall effort, he was suddenly willing to work with certain groups of people and even softened his resistance towards the county executive!

    I don’t agree with violence of any kind in terms of messaging towards him, yet he himself was extremely violent towards a white woman whom he pulled out of a truck by her hair. The video was shown on tv news and was horrific.

    The people are watching you, Fortney. We want to see you serve rather than dictate!

    1. How about you Dorian, how is your “arrogance quotient”? Pretty high? Then you end with a threat in your comment. You represent much of what represents “cancel culture”.

      1. I want to be clear about something as it’s come up a few times before. I’d prefer that people not question the first and last names (or cities of residence for that matter) that commenters choose to use here. If people’s comments are approved, I have vetted them to the best of my ability. If you have concerns, please contact me directly. Thanks — Teresa

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