Seat­tle’s elec­tion night results defy easy cat­e­go­riza­tion. Per­haps the best way to describe it is that vot­ers are most­ly con­tent with the pro­gres­sive tra­jec­to­ry their city is on — but want that to go fur­ther, espe­cial­ly when it comes to the school board.

All nine City Coun­cil seats were up for elec­tion, and we know the like­ly win­ners in all but two of them. In Dis­trict 1, Shan­non Brad­dock holds a 53–47 lead over Lisa Her­bold. In Dis­trict 2, incum­bent Bruce Har­rell holds a 55–45 lead over Tam­my Morales. How­ev­er, the num­ber of out­stand­ing bal­lots means that Her­bold and Morales still have a chance of pulling even, as late bal­lots usu­al­ly favor more pro­gres­sive can­di­dates like them.

In Dis­trict 3, incum­bent Social­ist Alter­na­tive mem­ber Kshama Sawant has like­ly won her race against Pamela Banks. Sawant leads 53–47, but it is wide­ly expect­ed that future bal­lot counts will favor Sawant.

In Dis­trict 4, Rob John­son has a 55–45 lead over Michael Mad­dux. In Dis­trict 5, Deb­o­ra Juarez has eas­i­ly defeat­ed Sandy Brown. In Dis­trict 6, incum­bent Mike O’Brien is cruis­ing to re-elec­tion over Cather­ine Weat­brook, and in Dis­trict 7 incum­bent Sal­ly Bagshaw has eas­i­ly defeat­ed Deb­o­rah Zech-Artis. In Posi­tion 8 (a city­wide seat), incum­bent Tim Burgess has like­ly defeat­ed Jon Grant, and in Posi­tion 9 (also a city­wide seat), Lore­na González has eas­i­ly defeat­ed Bill Bradburd.

Dis­trict elec­tions have his­tor­i­cal­ly made City Coun­cils more diverse, and this elec­tion is no excep­tion. In the city’s first elec­tion con­duct­ed under a dis­trict sys­tem, vot­ers sent at least four new mem­bers to the City Council.

The City Coun­cil will have a major­i­ty of women for the first time in twen­ty years, and will have at least four peo­ple of color.

This morn­ing, sev­er­al good analy­ses of the Seat­tle results have been post­ed by pro­gres­sive out­lets. The Stranger’s Hei­di Groover looks at the bal­ance of pow­er on the City Coun­cil. The Urban­ist con­cludes it was a good night for urban­ist poli­cies, and Seat­tle Tran­sit Blog called it a great night for tran­sit.

In a cam­paign close­ly watched by cam­paign finance reform­ers across the nation, Ini­tia­tive 122 sailed to an easy vic­to­ry, with ini­tial returns show­ing at least 60% of vot­ers approv­ing of this unique pub­lic financ­ing proposal.

I‑122 would pro­vide every Seat­tle vot­er with “Democ­ra­cy Vouch­ers” that they can give to cam­paigns to redeem from a $3 mil­lion fund.

Seat­tle vot­ers also approved a $930 mil­lion trans­porta­tion levy (Let’s Move Seat­tle), designed to fund improve­ments to tran­sit, bicy­cle and pedes­tri­an infra­struc­ture, as well as road and bridge maintenance.

One of the most impor­tant sto­ries from Seat­tle in the 2015 elec­tion is the vot­er revolt at the school board. Seat­tleites elect­ed a slate of school board can­di­dates who had vowed to take on the dis­trict bureau­cra­cy and shake up the sta­tus quo — and it was­n’t close. Scott Pinkham, Rick Burke, Jill Geary, and Leslie Har­ris were all lead­ing their oppo­nents by wide mar­gins on elec­tion night. Har­ris was 50 points ahead of Mar­ty McLaren, the only incum­bent on the bal­lot this year.

Seat­tle vot­ers were fed up with mis­man­age­ment at their pub­lic schools, crys­tal­lized by the Sep­tem­ber strike that most vot­ers felt was delib­er­ate­ly caused by dis­trict lead­ers. It was a vote of no con­fi­dence in a dis­trict staff who are wide­ly viewed as being unre­spon­sive to par­ent and pub­lic concerns.

The strike and the ongo­ing bat­tle in the Leg­is­la­ture over edu­ca­tion fund­ing have sparked a new grass­roots move­ment of Seat­tle par­ents, and after their vic­to­ries last night, we can expect this move­ment to spread rapid­ly across the state.

Adjacent posts

One reply on “Seattle voters shake up school board, City Council — and fund transit”

  1. Dear Robert, I would appre­ci­ate some exam­ples of the Dis­tric­t’s mis­man­age­ment which you allude to above — aside from how the strike was han­dled. I do not fol­low the School Board close­ly at all and am inter­est­ed in your inter­pre­ta­tion of what the vot­ers were say­ing in this elec­tion. Thank you.

Comments are closed.