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

Monday, May 24th, 2021

WA Filing Week 2021: Taking a closer look at Seattle’s four citywide contests

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.

City Attor­ney

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.

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