Election 2021: Cass, Chen lead incumbent Distelhorst; Johnson, Crank nearly even in early returns

In the hotly contested race for Edmonds City Council Position 2, challengers Janelle Cass and Will Chen were leading appointed incumbent Luke Distelhorst in early returns released by the Snohomish County Elections Office Tuesday night.

Cass, a small business owner and Air Force veteran, received 3,084 votes (33%) compared to 2,740 votes (29%) for Chen and 2,090 votes (22%) for Distelhorst. A public information specialist for Community Transit, Distelhorst was appointed in January 2020 to fill the council seat vacated when Mike Nelson was elected mayor. Also running for Position 2, former City Councilmember Lora Petso received 1,523 votes (16%).

“While the initial results of the primary aren’t what I hoped for, I’m so grateful for the opportunity to be your city council representative and will continue to work hard until the end of the term,”Distelhorst said. “In both my position on council and in my efforts to retain the position, it has been my honor meeting fellow community members sharing a vision and priorities while connecting with folks who want the best for our community,” he added.

“Based on the results tonight, it’s clearly evident that the people of Edmonds have felt under-represented on city council,” Cass said. “Our message to restore transparency and accountability in city government; to protect our single-family zoning and charm of Edmonds; and to invest in public safety and our small businesses is resonating with the sentiment of how people feel.”

Chen, a CPA who owns a business just off Edmonds’ Highway 99, said that he wanted “to personally thank the Edmonds community for your support and for being active and engaged. No matter the final outcome of the election, at the end of the day we all want the same thing and that is for Edmonds to thrive.”

In her statement, Petso said that while she was “disappointed with the early numbers,” she was also “very grateful to everyone who supported me. I hope that I was able to draw attention to the need for planned (not random) growth, and to the need for improved council procedures.”

In the race for City Council Position 1, incumbent Kristiana Johnson and challenger Alicia Crank were running neck and neck in the first days of returns, with Johnson receiving 45% (4,213 votes) and Crank 43% (4,020 votes). The third candidate in the race, Brian Hartman, received 1,036 votes or 11%.

“While the numbers are still coming in, I’m so grateful for the strong showing of support from the community,” said Crank, who was attending a National Night Out event in the Seaview neighborhood. “It was perfect to get these results while spending time with my fellow neighbors.”

In the three-way primary race for Edmonds Port District Commissioner Position 5 at large, incumbent Steve Johnston was leading all candidates with 3,623 votes (71%). Challenger Scott Marshall was in second place with 17% while Selena Killin received 11%.

In the race for Public Hospital District 2 Commissioner Position 2, University of Washington-Bothell Assistant Vice Chancellor Carolyn Brennan was leading with 55% of vote while attorney Rico Tessandore had 27%. Zemach Faris earned 18% of vote.

The primary narrows the field to two candidates, who will face off in the Nov. 2 general election. You can view all Aug. 3 primary election results at this link. Results are expected to be updated on Wednesday, Aug. 4 at approximately 5 p.m.