On Friday May 21st„ the final day of Filing Week, county elections officials in Washington’s thirty-nine counties officially closed the door to candidates hoping to throw their hat in the ring for local elected positions around the state.
The city of Seattle has four elected positions up for election in 2021. Let’s take a quick look through the filings and some of the leading contenders in each race.
Probably the most significant position up for grabs in the 2021 election cycle is the mayoralty of Seattle. In December, incumbent Jenny Durkan announced that she would not run for a second-term, opening the floodgates and increasing the likelihood of a crowded field, similar to the dynamic we saw four years ago.
By the end of Filing Week, there were fifteen contenders for Mayor.
While many of this number are unlikely to get anywhere – six have not even filed any campaign contributions with the city’s elections commission – the race has attracted some stand-out candidates. They include:
- Colleen Echohawk, a homelessness advocate who has had a seat at many of the top tables of local politics – including the Regional Homelessness Authority, the Seattle Police Commission, the Downtown Seattle Association, and others;
- Jessyn Farrell, a former state representative from North Seattle and inclusive transportation advocacy veteran with experience in state politics, county governance, and policy development;
- Lorena González, the City Council’s first Latina member and sitting Council President, who led the Council’s sweeping response to concerns about police brutality during last year’s protest movement;
- Bruce Harrell, a former City Council President, who briefly held the office of Mayor in 2017 after the resignation scandal-plagued Ed Murray;
- Andrew Grant Houston, a qualified architect who has worked as Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda’s interim policy manager. Despite Houston’s lack of experience in elected office, his strong fundraising and community supports means he could well be a force to be reckoned with.
City Council Position #9
Lorena González, the current incumbent in City Council Position 9, is running for mayor this year, which leaves an open seat. The open seat has attracted seven contenders, of whom three are likely to be the biggest hitters:
- Nikkita Oliver, a community organizer and activist who came third place in the 2017 mayoral election (coming within 1% of runner-up Cary Moon).
- Sara Nelson, the founder of Fremont Brewery and pro-business advocate who previously ran for city council in 2017.
- Brianna Thomas, Councilmember González’s Chief of Staff who has over a decade of experience in state and city politics. She ran for a different city council seat in the 2015 local election cycle.
City Council Position #8
Unlike her colleague in Position 9, incumbent Teresa Mosqueda is running for reelection – but that didn’t discourage a whole bunch of other people from filing. Oddly enough, more people seem interested in unseating Mosqueda than are interested in filling Lorena González’s empty seat! However, none of the challengers has raised even a tenth of Mosqueda’s campaign funds, and most have not even set up campaign websites. Expect Mosqueda to cruise to victory.
Pete Holmes is Seattle’s longest-serving elected official currently in office, having won his first campaign for city attorney back in 2009.
He is running on a promise of continuity, a promise which might guarantee him success all on its own; in a city currently looking for both a new mayor and a chief of police, with grave questions hovering over the very future of public safety, voters will likely flock to the stability and certainty of a fourth term for Holmes.
During his tenure, Holmes has been a pioneering progressive, using his office to influence and implement reforms to criminal justice.
Holmes’ position is strengthened by the sudden withdrawal of his most prominent challenger, Steve Fortney, from the race, leaving two relative unknowns – self-described “abolitionist” Nicole Thomas Kennedy and perennial Republican candidate Ann Davison – to run against Holmes.
Thomas Kennedy will almost certainly be the stronger of the two challengers, but she’s getting a late start and faces an uphill climb.
For a broader summary of filing week across the state – including notable filings in Seattle Port Commission, King County, Redmond, and Bellevue elections – check out this Cascadia Advocate post from last Friday.