THE tiering of elections in the Snohomish County race for county executive might be confusing, but the obvious choice for the position is not.

Appointed incumbent County Executive John Lovick is the choice to complete the term of the previous executive, who resigned.

An election for a full four-year term for the office will be held in November 2015.

Lovick was twice elected Snohomish County sheriff before the Snohomish County Council put management of county government in his experienced hands in June 2013.

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In March, the county’s resources and skills were tested by the Oso mudslide. Lovick’s principal opponent, Sultan Mayor Carolyn Eslick, commended the county’s response to that natural disaster during a candidate interview.

Lovick is looking to a commission to examine land-use, regulatory and governance issues going forward from the mudslide.

The Democrat is facing Eslick, a Republican, and James Deal, a Democrat and a Lynnwood attorney. Deal seems more interested in the campaign as a forum for strongly held environmental and public health issues.

Lovick’s résumé includes a seat on the Mill Creek City Council, a career in the Washington State Patrol, service in the state House, and two elections as sheriff.

He has credibility when he supports construction of a new, more expensive courthouse to serve a growing county, instead of pouring more money into a cramped, inadequate space.

Eslick’s service in Sultan does not approach the scale of budgets and issues at the county level.

Lovick’s endorsements and his campaign treasury point to strong support for his re-election. Snohomish County has budget stress from a natural disaster, and persistent management issues with the county jail.

Lovick and Deal support I-594, which would expand background checks for gun sales and transfers. Eslick does not.

Lovick has the experience, leadership and temperament to lead Snohomish County government.

Editorial board members are editorial page editor Kate Riley, Frank A. Blethen, Ryan Blethen, Sharon Pian Chan, Lance Dickie, Jonathan Martin, Erik Smith, Thanh Tan, William K. Blethen (emeritus) and Robert C. Blethen (emeritus).