Everett mayoral candidates Tuohy, Franklin in virtual tie after early returns

EVERETT, Wash. -- Voters in Everett may be electing the first female mayor in 124 years, but they may not know which candidate it is for a while.

Candidates' Cassie Franklin and Judy Tuohy, both members of the Everett City Council, faced each other in the general election after finishing in the top two spots in a close primary.

In Tuesday night's election returns, Tuohy held a tiny lead -- with only 49 votes separating her from Franklin.  It was Tuohy's 44.8% (3,991 votes) to Franklin's 44.3% (3,942 votes).

Counting will continue for several days as more mail-in ballots arrive.

Businessman Gary Watts , who garnered national attention for placing a sign outside his business nicknaming Everett "Tweakerville," staged a write-in campaign for mayor. The write-in candidates received 969 votes or 10.9%, but all might not have gone to Watts.

All three want the title of mayor of Everett and all three agree on one thing: “The crisis we are facing is housing, homelessness and addiction,” Franklin said.

The only woman to occupy the mayor's job since Everett incorporated in 1893 was Joyce Ebert -- and she wasn't elected. She agreed to fill the post for two months after Bob Anderson resigned in 1977.