Rohrbough advancing in County Council race

Everett’s Dunn overtakes Gregerson for second spot
By Brandon Gustafson | Aug 15, 2019

It appears that at least one Mukilteo candidate for Snohomish County Council will be advancing to the November general election.

The County Council District 2 seat is up for grabs this year as the person who currently holds the seat, former Mukilteo mayor and councilmember Brian Sullivan, a Democrat, is term limited after serving for three four-year terms starting in 2008. The County’s District 2 covers all of Mukilteo, all of Everett, and Tulalip lands.

Sullivan is still seeking office, however, as he is running for Snohomish County Treasurer against Marysville City Councilmember Rob Toyer.

Unlike Mukilteo City Council races, the County Council is a partisan, full-time position. Councilmembers will be paid more than $126,000 in 2020.

The race was the most contested of any election in the county, with eight candidates vying to succeed Sullivan. The top-two vote recipients advance to the general election in November.

As the first round of primary election results came through last week, it seemed clear that Mukilteo City Councilmember Anna Rohrbough would be advancing past the primary. Rohrbough, the lone Republican in the field of eight, received nearly three times more votes than the next highest vote recipient, totaling more than 35 percent as of Tuesday, Aug. 13.

“It was very motivating,” Rohrbough said of when she saw the first results. “It was nice for all my supporters as well. It felt really good.”

Rohrbough and her family and supporters held a primary watching party at Buzz Inn in Everett, with about 50 people in attendance.

“We were just waiting and checking and checking,” Rohrbough said. “Then when we saw (the results), we were even more excited.”

Rohrbough’s opponent isn’t as set, however, as the second-place spot has already flipped once since the first round of results.

When they were published on the County’s website Tuesday, Aug. 6, Mukilteo Mayor Jennifer Gregerson, who was among the first to announce her candidacy, led the field of Democrats with 12.54 percent. She had a narrow lead over Megan Dunn, an activist from Everett who helped lead the way for Everett’s districting of its City Council, who initially had 12.46 percent of the vote. They were separated by just 11 votes in the first reveal.

Since then, Dunn’s fortunes have turned, as she’s overtaken Gregerson for the top spot in the primary.

“We were optimistic,” Dunn said about her chances after the first round of votes were published. “We knew that Democrats and progressives tend to vote on the last day. We felt like our numbers would get better.”

Now, Dunn leads by a little less than 1 percent (around 200 votes).

“It’s looking good,” Dunn said.

While Dunn’s fortunes have turned in her favor, it has been the opposite for Gregerson. “I am disappointed but proud of the efforts that our team made,” Gregerson said. “I’m grateful to the supporters who put their trust in me.”

Dunn said she heard about a number of different issues while campaigning, with housing, traffic, and the waterfront at the forefront for Mukilteo residents.

Dunn, one of seven Democrats in the race, said she’s heard from other candidates in the race since the results have gone in her favor, including Gregerson.

Rohrbough told The Beacon she was glad to see Dunn as her apparent opponent rather than Gregerson.

“I think it’s better for Mukilteo,” Rohrbough said.

Both Rohrbough and Dunn say they’ll aim for more representation for Mukilteo.

“For me, one of the reasons I wanted to run is, being on City Council, I’ve seen how underrepresented Mukilteo is in this district,” Rohrbough said. “I think Mukilteo often gets pulled through the mud. We need someone strong who will represent Mukilteo.”

“I will provide regular legislative updates to the City Council, and I will hold regular town hall meetings so residents have more of a voice,” Dunn said.

Following Rohrbough, Dunn, and Gregerson in the results were Cecilia Wilson, Tyler Verda, Alex Lark, Louis Harris, and Sharita Burton. Harris lives in Mukilteo, while Wilson, Verda, Lark, and Burton all live in Everett.



Other election impacts

With Gregerson not looking likely to move on, that could still have a significant impact on the November election.

This November, Mukilteo voters will choose the future of the City’s government.

Mukilteo could potentially change to a council-manager form of government rather than a mayor-council form, which the City has had since its incorporation in 1947.

The City Council approved a resolution to put the question on the ballot earlier this summer.

If the measure passes, Mukilteo will be led by an unelected city manager, who will be the CEO of the City, rather than the mayor.

Additionally, the City Council would look different, as it would elect a mayor and mayor pro-tem, rather than a council president and vice president. Those roles, like council president and vice president positions, are more honorific.

If Gregerson had advanced and won the general election and the measure had failed, a special election would take place in February to determine the next mayor. Now, that scenario won’t happen, but Gregerson’s role as mayor could be ousted if the measure passes. During past council meetings, Councilmember Scott Whelpley said Gregerson would effectively become an eighth councilmember for the remainder of her mayoral term, which expires in 2021.

“As long as the voters do not change our form of government, I look forward to finishing the next two years of my term, and leading our community with the future in mind,” Gregerson said.




More statistics

As of Monday evening, 22,603 ballots were returned for the County Council District 2 race out of 83,599 registered voters (27 percent turnout). Of the 22,453, there was a total of 22,603 votes, as there were 93 overvotes (selected more than one candidate) and 262 undervotes (no candidate selected).

The top-three vote getters in Mukilteo were Rohrbough, Gregerson, and Dunn, respectively.

Rohrbough earned as high as 47.97 percent of votes in certain Mukilteo precincts, with a low of 26.42 percent.

Gregerson’s highest precinct result was 28.3 percent, with a low of 14 percent. Dunn’s highest was 16.1 percent, and the lowest was 6 percent.

Mukilteo voters had a solid turnout for this race, with a little more than 38 percent of registered voters submitting ballots.

The primary election race is certified Tuesday, Aug. 20. The general election is Tuesday, Nov. 5.



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