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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