Mukilteo for All thrilled with Zieve’s defeat

By Brandon Gustafson | Nov 15, 2017
Glen Pickus, Mukilteo for All founder.

As the initial waves of votes have been tallied, the most high profile race in Mukilteo ended up notably lopsided as Peter Zieve trails resoundingly to Bob Champion in the race for Mukilteo City Council Position 2.

Although votes are still being tallied, Zieve, the owner and president of Electroimpact, trails by roughly 33 percent as of Tuesday. The votes are not certified until Nov. 28.

Many Mukilteo citizens saw Zieve as a controversial figure, highlighted by his past behavior that included launching an anonymous postcard campaign opposing construction of a mosque in Mukilteo as well as alleged workplace discrimination at Electroimpact.

The reported discrimination included company-wide emails making jokes about Muslims, passing over applicants who appeared to be Muslim, as well as pressuring single employees to get married.

The controversy continued during Zieve’s campaign as he and one of his employees claimed that Champion, the Position 2 incumbent and the current council president, was in a secret relationship with Mayor Jennifer Gregerson.

The employee was Jeff Wakeman, Gregerson’s ex-husband.

Zieve’s candidacy and campaign prompted some citizens to launch Mukilteo for All, a political action committee whose sole purpose was to ensure Zieve’s defeat.

“We didn’t feel he had a chance based on the primary results, but we didn’t just want to defeat him,” said Glen Pickus, a founder of Mukilteo for All. “We wanted to defeat him resoundingly.”

Pickus claimed that he and his group were trying to convey what Zieve had done in his past in order to show he wasn’t the right fit for office in Mukilteo.

“We wanted to make known Zieve’s past history of workplace behavior and the postcard campaign against the mosque,” Pickus said.

Pickus said Mukilteo for All brought those issues to light, and helped drive more people to vote than normal.

“Almost always, whether it’s large town elections or small, the mayor race almost always has the larger amount of votes,” Pickus said. “The most votes in this election was for Position 2. We feel we drove people to the polls more than normal, and we were very effective in that regard. My personal estimate is our efforts increased voter turnout by 10 percent, although I have no science to back that up.”

Zieve felt that his message and support group were top-notch, but ultimately it just wasn’t enough to get him elected to the council.

“I had very good assistance and dedicated supporters,” Zieve said. “I thought we had many good messages, and we managed to get the messages out.

“I am proud of my supporters. We did many things well. I can't think of what we could have done better.  The combination of me as a candidate and our message was not enough to take down an incumbent.”

Zieve said he has no way of knowing how big of an impact Mukilteo for All played in the election due to the difference in voter turnout between the primary election and the actual one. He did feel that the group was harmful

“It seems unprecedented to me,” Zieve said. “It should have been denounced by the Beacon and by the council, but it wasn't. Therefore, Mukilteo will continue to go on the route it is on.”

Pickus said that Mukilteo for All was denounced by a lot of people in town, but that he and his group felt that voters needed to be aware of Zieve’s past.

“Some people told us, ‘This isn’t Mukilteo politics. We don’t need this kind of opposition,’ but we weren’t going to stand quietly while he tried to get elected,” Pickus said. “People called us a lynch mob and called us a smear campaign, which really isn’t true.

“That doesn’t make sense to me. We made no accusations towards Zieve. All we did was bring to attention that he sent the postcard out regarding the mosque, and that he got fined nearly half a million dollars by the state attorney general.”

As for the immediate plans for Mukilteo for All, Pickus said that their work is done, and they have finished their fundraising and are filing their final reports with the Public Disclosure Commission.

As for Zieve, he said that he feels the message he tried to convey while running was a good one, but that he has no plans to run for office again.

“My supporters are telling me to run again, but I reject that idea,” Zieve said. “I would prefer to see a like-minded woman run. That would be more likely to succeed.”

Pickus said that he hopes Mukilteo for All set a precedent for what kind of people should and shouldn’t run for office in Mukilteo.

“We hope that the message we sent is that we’ll discourage people like Zieve from running for office in Mukilteo. He spent over $50,000 and still lost two votes to one.”

 

Other results

 

Mayor

Jennifer Gregerson is leading in her bid to be re-elected mayor by roughly nine percent over challenger Dan Matthews.

Gregerson was elected mayor in 2013 and had served on the City Council since 2004 before that.

Matthews, a retired Air Force pilot who served in Vietnam and Operation Desert Storm, was seeking his first office in Mukilteo.

 

Position 1

Incumbent Ted Wheeler is retiring from office after serving on the City Council since his first term began in 2014 after winning the election in 2013.

The race for his seat came down to Anna Rohrbough, who has served on the city’s long-range planning committee since 2014, and is also a board member for the Mukilteo Chamber of Commerce and a leadership coach who runs her own business. Rohrbough currently leads the race with 57.39 percent of the vote.

Her opponent, James Yoo, is a first-generation immigrant who owns two construction-related businesses. Yoo so far has received 42.31 percent of the vote.

 

Position 3

Current Councilmember Randy Lord is retiring after serving on the council since 2006.

The final two candidates, Sarah Kneller and Tony Markey, had the closest race of the three council positions up for election this year.

Kneller, who works as a producer and production manager for many different sports networks throughout the country and is on Mukilteo’s long-range financial planning committee, leads the race with 52.37 percent of the vote.

Markey currently manages an outpatient clinic for older patients, and has served on both the budget committee for the Mukilteo School District and on Mukilteo’s long-range financial planning committee. He currently trails Kneller at 47.36 percent.

 

Mukilteo Transportation Benefit District Proposition No. 1

Sales and Use Tax for Transportation Improvements

A hot-button issue among many voters and candidates, Prop. 1 would raise the sales tax in Mukilteo by 0.1 percent, to 10.4 percent.

The extra money through the tax would go toward sidewalks and pavement improvements throughout Mukilteo by the city’s Transportation Benefit District. The city projects that this tax would bring in nearly $300,000 per year that would go toward those improvements.

As it stands, the proposition will pass, with 54.11 percent of voters approving it.

 

Mukilteo School District 6 Director District 2

Judy Schwab ran unopposed for this position. Schwab was first elected to this position in 1997. She will be starting her sixth term in this position.

 

Mukilteo School District 6 Director District 4

This seat is currently held by Geoffrey W. Thorp, who won the seat back in 2005 and has held it ever since.

Thorpe is currently trailing challenger Shaun Olsen in the closest Mukilteo race.

Olsen has 50.50 percent while Thorp has received 48.40 percent of the vote.

 

Mukilteo Water and Wastewater Commissioner Position 3

Mike Johnson ran for reelection unopposed. He has served in this position since winning election in 1999 and will begin his fourth six-year term. He also serves as the Mukilteo Water and Wastewater Commission’s vice president.

 

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