SNOHOMISH – In the battle to rule a divided town of Snohomish, voters toppled longtime conservative council voices and elected a more progressive mayor on Tuesday, if an early vote is obtained.
Linda Redmon looked set to defeat incumbent Mayor John Kartak.
Meanwhile, two of Kartak’s allies on city council, Larry Countryman and Steve Dana, also lost their candidacy for re-election.
Redmon, the chairman of the board, won more than 54% of the 1,850 votes cast against 45% for Kartak.
“What I’m feeling right now is really gratitude,” Redmon said on a phone call a few minutes after the results arrived. “I’m grateful for the support of the people… I’m really especially grateful for the army of volunteers who helped make this happen.
Redmon led by a margin of 172 votes.
A reporter from the Herald tried to call Kartak, but his voicemail was full.
It was a race for mayor mingled with personal and political attacks.
Kartak’s campaign Facebook page was filled with posts calling out his opponent, rarely by name, for allegedly conflicting positions. In several posts, he called Redmon a supporter of the “anti-Snohomish smear campaign”, a candidate “aligned with Seattle” and someone who insists that “Snohomish has serious problems with racism.”
Redmon said the messages were just attempts to “make people angry and scared, leaving a legacy of division.” It’s between him and God now, ”she wrote in a Facebook post on November 1.
A campaign letter sent to Snohomish homes after the ballots came out stated: “Kartak is tearing our town apart / We need a mayor who will bring us together. “
One of the most glaring differences between the two candidates was their response to a controversial weekend in spring 2020 when armed individuals showed up downtown. Mayor Kartak told a conservative radio station that the crowds of people – some carrying guns, others carrying symbols reminiscent of Confederation, in response to an unconfirmed rumor that an anti-fascist group was planning to loot companies – had “the right to be there.” . ”
Redmon sympathized with the people who were terrified of the appearance this weekend of what some considered to be vigilantes. She is also committed to continuing the work she started on the council – tackling the city’s housing problem in a way that preserves the city’s historic charm, by pushing for better infrastructure. and protecting the environment.
Kartak campaigned on preserving “small town values”. He wouldn’t change much if he was re-elected, he said. He said the city’s current balance of 60% single-family and 40% multi-family dwellings was working for Snohomish, and he touted a “tough on crime” police.
Lea Anne Burke, a land use planner for the Tulalip Tribes, led the outgoing compatriot by a comfortable margin.
Burke won almost 60% of the vote, while Countryman got 40% in the race for 6.
Burke hopes to use his professional planning background and ecological knowledge to help the city find environmentally friendly solutions for growth. As a Native American, she said she was able to lead conversations about race and fairness.
Countryman campaigned as a candidate for the status quo: preserving history while considering annexation and growth. He has lived in the city since the 1970s, served 12 years on the board, and told the Daily Herald in October that his roots here give him “a slightly different perspective from most people.”
In a race between two former mayors for position 7, holder Dana took just over 45%, behind Karen Guzak, who collected 54% in the first count.
Guzak chaired the Historic Design Review Board in the early 2000s. She then served on the Town’s Strategic Planning Committee, as well as Snohomish Town Council, Snohomish County Health Board and County by Snohomish Tomorrow. His main campaign pillars were creating greener initiatives, improving equity and increasing the stock of affordable housing.
Dana, a long-time manager of hamburger restaurant The Hub, has lived in the city since the 1960s. He said he had the necessary land-use planning skills to support the city in its process of annexing the land. county plots and addition for commercial and residential growth. Since starting his last term in 2018, he has said he has helped approve code changes that protect the environment.
Incumbent Tom Merrill led retired firefighter Brian Mills by a comfortable margin in the contest for position 4. Merrill got 55% of the vote, compared to Mills’ nearly 45%.
Merrill, a former tech executive, campaigned on his experience and balanced approach to the city’s problems. If re-elected, he said he hopes to improve the city’s sustainability practices; reassess the unbalanced distribution of multi-family dwellings versus single-family dwellings to expand access to “affordable” housing; and lead elected officials to listen to marginalized groups.
Mills campaigned to preserve “hometown values” in Snohomish. He is a third generation Snohomish resident who worked in construction before joining the Seattle Fire Department. He retired in 2006.
In position 5, flooring contractor David Flynn led real estate agent Kari Zimmerman from 61.5% to 38%.
Flynn has lived in the Snohomish area for over two decades and said his passion for the city motivated him to serve. He said he would strive to balance the historic charm of the community with inevitable growth. He said he believed better infrastructure was essential to support the expansion.
Zimmerman explained her leadership experience: she managed homeowners associations and compared real estate to small business ownership. She said she understood the planning challenges of a city linked by two rivers and two highways, but was ready to make decisions with the future in mind.
Felix Neals, who currently holds a board seat by nomination, ran unopposed for position 3. He received over 1,200 votes.
Neals, a licensed mental health counselor, has served on the Historic Downtown Snohomish Association and the Public Safety Commission.