NPI's Cascadia Advocate

Offering commentary and analysis from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Monday, July 25th, 2011

County Council hopeful Richard Mitchell gaining strength as August 16th approaches

Full Dis­clo­sure: I per­son­al­ly sup­port Richard Mitchel­l’s cam­paign for coun­ty coun­cil in my capac­i­ty as Sec­ond Vice Chair of the King Coun­ty Democ­rats. NPI does not endorse or make finan­cial con­tri­bu­tions to can­di­dates for elect­ed office.

Only a few days remain until King Coun­ty Elec­tions begins mail­ing out bal­lots for the August 16th win­now­ing elec­tion. One of the most impor­tant races on the bal­lot will be the con­test for 6th Coun­ty Coun­cil Dis­trict, which will be decid­ed by res­i­dents of Belle­vue, Kirk­land, Mer­cer Island, Med­i­na, Clyde Hill, and oth­er East­side cities.

The con­test pits incum­bent Repub­li­can Jane Hague (who has a trou­bled past) against three chal­lengers: Seat­tle Port Com­mis­sion­er John Creighton, for­mer Belle­vue City Coun­cilmem­ber Pat­sy Boin­con­tri, and first-time can­di­date Richard Mitchell, who, despite not hav­ing run for office before, has plen­ty of expe­ri­ence in the polit­i­cal are­na (he served as Chris Gre­goire’s gen­er­al coun­sel dur­ing her first term).

Mitchell may not be as well known as his oppo­nents, but he is one of the most impres­sive can­di­dates that Democ­rats have field­ed for local office in years. He has three degrees from respect­ed uni­ver­si­ties (in law, urban plan­ning, and archi­tec­ture) and cur­rent­ly serves on the boards of the King Coun­ty Hous­ing Author­i­ty, Seat­tle Uni­ver­si­ty, and King Coun­ty Bar Asso­ci­a­tion.

Though Hague and Creighton have been attract­ing most of the region’s insti­tu­tion­al sup­port to date (they are both incum­bents in offices elect­ed at the region­al lev­el, so that’s not too sur­pris­ing) Mitchell has man­aged to land sev­er­al key endorse­ments, includ­ing the Amal­ga­mat­ed Tran­sit Union and the Sier­ra Club.

And his cam­paign’s momen­tum con­tin­ues to build.

Ear­ly this after­noon, the Munic­i­pal League released its rat­ings for can­di­dates seek­ing local office. Michell was the only can­di­date to earn the League’s high­est rat­ing of “Out­stand­ing”. (Jane Hague and John Creighton received rat­ings of “Good”; Pat­sy Boin­con­tri was rat­ed “Very Good”).

And just hours lat­er, he picked up the endorse­ment of The Seat­tle Times, which is rarely bestowed on a pro­gres­sive can­di­date:

RICHARD Mitchell is the most accom­plished and promis­ing chal­lenger to Jane Hague on the Met­ro­pol­i­tan King Coun­ty Coun­cil, and earns The Seat­tle Times’ endorse­ment. In our inter­views with the four can­di­dates for this seat, he stood out for his quick mind and grasp of detail.

Mitchell still has a big hill to climb. He does­n’t have the name recog­ni­tion that his oppo­nents do, or the same access to easy mon­ey. But he appears to be run­ning a strong cam­paign that is get­ting stronger by the day. Demo­c­ra­t­ic activists have been say­ing since the ear­ly days of his cam­paign that he would be an extreme­ly com­pelling addi­tion to the coun­ty coun­cil if elect­ed.

It seems they’re not the only ones who feel that way.

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