Nelson, Tibbott leading in Edmonds mayoral primary

Noble, Katims ahead in their School District races
By Brian Soergel | Aug 07, 2019

Initial indications from the first two 2019 primary election results show Mike Nelson and Neil Tibbott moving on in the race to become Edmonds' next mayor.

As of 5 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 7, Nelson had 3,613 votes, or 43.5% of the total. Tibbott tallied 2,425 votes, or 29.2%. Following were Councilmember Kristiana Johnson (1,309, 15.7%) and City planner Brad Shipley (951, 11.4%).

The top two vote getters move on to the general election Nov. 6. Primary results will be certified Aug. 20.

“I am humbled and appreciative of our citizens' strong support of our campaign,” Nelson said Tuesday night. “I look forward to a meaningful discussion on the future of Edmonds in the following months.”

Tibbott said that it’s important to remember that election results will not be final until they are certified on Aug. 20.

“However, I am very encouraged by the results,” he said. “I want to thank those who voted for me, those who have volunteered at my side, and those who have contributed to my campaign.

“November will be an important election for Edmonds and for our country. Our freedom and right to vote was hard won, and we exercise that freedom every time we vote. The individuals you choose to put in office will make decisions that will impact generations of individuals who are not yet born.

“The mayor’s job in Edmonds is a serious job, with serious consequences for our city, and in just 13 weeks the residents of Edmonds will pick a new person to occupy that office. I look forward to the opportunity to personally meet with residents of Edmonds as they consider their choice leading up to the general election in November.”

At this early stage, Nelson does not appear to have been damaged by his public acknowledgement of failing to pay more than $50,000 in taxes from the years 2010 to 2015. A lien was lifted after Nelson paid the full amount last year.

Tibbott surprised many when he became the swing vote on the Edmonds Street Waterfront Connector, ensuring its defeat after Nelson made a motion to scrap it. But Tibbott – an ordained minister – raised a few eyebrows when, during the first mayoral debate last month, he said he defines marriage as between a man and a woman, but supports marriage equality.

Johnson had posed the question: Would Tibbott perform a marriage ceremony for one of his children if they were gay?

Tibbott said he would “invite them to be married by someone else.”

The future of Edmonds

What happens to the candidates if they fail to advance or lose the general election?

Tibbott’s council seat is up this year, so he will not maintain his position if he does not win the mayoral election, as he can only run for one position. Shipley could return to his City job, and both Nelson and Johnson would maintain their council seats, as they are in the middle of their terms.

Whoever is the next leader in Edmonds for the next four years will inherit a city in flux, as pressures such as housing costs, increased traffic, and development are changing the longtime look and feel of the city.

How will Edmonds maintain its appeal for quaintness and for being named, year after year, as “the friendliest town in Puget Sound?”

The recent public uproar over the proposed Waterfront Connector – which would have provided an emergency link to the waterfront from the eastside of the railroad tracks – helped lead to the council’s rejection of the plan.

What about Washington State Ferries’ much-discussed plan for a third boat? Will there be another attempt to develop Harbor Square into a bustling residential/commercial area? Will there be seismic upgrades to the city’s historic buildings lining Main Street? Mother-in-law homes? The homeless? Opioid addiction?

The three months leading up to the general election will help answer those questions, through community forums and extensive coverage in the Beacon.

School Board

Also on the primary ballot were the two races for open spots of the Edmonds School District board of directors.

Incumbent Gary Noble, a 16-year veteran on the board, has a solid lead in District 3 with 8,820 votes, or 45.6% percent of the total. Following Noble are Rory Graves (4,001, 20.7%) Jennifer Cail (3,829, 19.8%), Mary Schultz (1,627, 8.4%), and Boe Lindgren (990, 5.1%).

In District 5, four newcomers are vying for the position being vacated by board president Diana White, who is running for a seat on the Edmonds City Council. Nancy Katims has a huge lead, with 9,906 votes, or 53.5% percent of the total. Following her are Lisa Hunnewell (4,143, 22.4%), Rina Redrup (2,702, x14.6%), and D.P. (Casey) Auve (1,684, 9.1%).

"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.

“(The) 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 District 1, both incumbent Carin Chase and challenger Alvin Rutledge move on to the general election.

Other elections

For Snohomish County Council District 3, which represents Edmonds, incumbent Stephanie Wright will advance with 13,610 votes, or 78.3% of the total. Following her is Willie Russell (1,939, 11.2%), a registered Level 3 sex offender who lives in unicorporated Snohomish County near Mariner High School. Also in the hunt is Meier Lowenthal (1,687, 9.7%).


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