Challenger Susanna Johnson leads Snohomish County Sheriff’s race in first round of results

SNOHOMISH COUNTY, Wash. — Challenger Susanna Johnson is leading the heated Snohomish County Sheriff’s Race in the first round of results Tuesday night.

The contentious sheriff’s race is evident in Tuesday’s results.

Snohomish County Sheriff candidates on why they’re running for office

Challenger Johnson is barely leading with 52.25% of the voters’ ballots, with more than 56,000 votes.

Incumbent sheriff Adam Fortney is trailing with more than 51,000 votes.

KIRO 7 News had previously interviewed both candidates before Election Day.

The incumbent sheriff is focused on re-election, while his challenger, she said, is focused on restoring the public’s trust in law enforcement.


Adam Fortney was elected as the county’s sheriff in 2019 and has been with the office since 1996.

He survived a failed recall election in 2021.

In our previous interview with Fortney last week, he said he didn’t like the direction of public safety before his term as sheriff and wanted to change that.

He said his background as a patrol sergeant has helped him make quick decisions while in office.

“I thought we could go down a stronger path of public safety. I think I brought that in the last four years, and that’s absolutely what I want to continue for the next four years.” He added, “Our patrol sergeants, operationally speaking, kind of run the sheriff’s office. You got to make decisions quick, and they’re big decisions right. I brought that I think to the highest level of public safety in Snohomish County to the office of elected sheriffs. I have gotten stuff done in the last four years. Still a government. We still got to work through all of that stuff, but we have made a lot of progress in four years.”

Fortney said his main focus this race is on public safety and addressing the fentanyl crisis.

The incumbent sheriff said he is creating a program at the county jail that would provide people access to resources to help them recover.

KIRO 7 News reached out to Fortney on Election Day, but we are still waiting to hear back.

Fortney, however, shared a post on Facebook of himself sitting outside Tuesday evening. The photo’s caption read, “Taking a second before the crazy:)”

Taking a second before the crazy:)

Posted by Sheriff Adam Fortney on Tuesday, November 7, 2023


Challenger Susanna Johnson is the current deputy police chief with the Bothell Police Department.

She served the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office for 30 years, prior to her current role.

KIRO 7 News also had interviewed Johnson last week before Election Day.

Johnson said she is focusing her campaign on public safety, restoring the public’s trust in law enforcement, especially after the murder of George Floyd, and employee development.

She added that addressing the fentanyl crisis is a critical issue she would like to address.

She touted her background of working in narcotics for more than eight years, and how it would help her find a long-term solution to address the crisis in the county.

Johnson plans to leverage her relationships she had built throughout the past three decades to find a solution that helps the entire community, she said.

KIRO 7 News spoke with Johnson at her watch party in Snohomish on Election Day after the results rolled in.

“Really excited about the voters,” she shared. “The voters clearly care about public trust, public safety and the employees of the sheriff’s office. We can do a better job supporting them, investing in them, and have professional skills and professional development, and very excited about where this is trending.”

While her supporters were very emotional and happy, Johnson told KIRO 7 News that she is “cautiously optimistic” after the first round of results Tuesday.

Johnson also thanked her supporters and volunteers who have helped her during her more than a year of campaigning.

Stay with KIRO 7 News as we continue to follow the heated race and the results in the coming days.