Bruce Harrell vs. Lorena González​
Bruce Harrell vs. Lorena González​ (Campaign publicity photos)

For­mer Seat­tle City Coun­cilmem­ber Bruce Har­rell and cur­rent Seat­tle City Coun­cil Pres­i­dent Lore­na González appear to have enough ear­ly sup­port to secure the top two spots for May­or of Seat­tle in the com­ing gen­er­al elec­tion, ini­tial returns released tonight by King Coun­ty Elec­tions suggest.

Har­rell present­ly leads the fif­teen can­di­date field with 38.23% of the vote. González is in sec­ond place with 28.55% of the vote.

No oth­er may­oral can­di­date is any­where close to them.

Colleen Echohawk, who was not far behind Lore­na González in our poll last month, is in third in these ear­ly returns. But while the poll put her sup­port at around 10%, she’s in the sin­gle dig­its with just 8.32%.

For­mer State Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Jessyn Far­rell, mean­while, is in fourth place with 7.49%. Far­rell also fin­ished in fourth place four years ago in the last Top Two elec­tion for may­or, though in that elec­tion, she received 12.57% of the vote.

Archi­tect Andrew Grant Hous­ton, who was tied with Far­rell for fourth place in our poll, is in sev­enth place in ear­ly returns with an ane­mic 2.59%, trail­ing Casey Sixkiller (3.57%) and Arthur Lan­glie (5.83%). Lance Ran­dall and James Don­ald­son are the only oth­er can­di­dates with more than 1% of the vote.

While there are many bal­lots left to be count­ed, our team feels con­fi­dent in pro­ject­ing that Har­rell and González will be the win­ners in this elim­i­na­tion round when the results are cer­ti­fied in two weeks.

Our sur­vey found about 32% of like­ly 2021 Top Two vot­ers were unde­cid­ed or not sure in the may­oral race. It looks like those unde­cid­ed vot­ers so far have grav­i­tat­ed to the fron­trun­ners Har­rell and González rather than to any of the oth­er can­di­dates. Har­rell is doing about eigh­teen points bet­ter than in our poll last month, while Gon­za­lez is doing about six­teen and half points better.

Har­rell was able to main­tain his advan­tage over González­to earn first place in ear­ly returns, while González was able to con­vinc­ing­ly pull away from Echohawk and the oth­er may­oral can­di­dates dur­ing the last few weeks of July.

Both Har­rell and González have been elect­ed city­wide before to at-large coun­cil seats. Har­rell was first elect­ed to the coun­cil before there were any dis­tricts. He retained his coun­cil seat after it was con­vert­ed to a dis­trict-based posi­tion fol­low­ing the approval of Seat­tle City Char­ter Amend­ment X.

In 2019, Har­rell chose to leave the Coun­cil rather than seek reelec­tion to anoth­er term. Then, ear­ly this year, Har­rell declared his can­di­da­cy for May­or, which is an open seat due to the retire­ment of incum­bent Jen­ny Durkan.

González was over­whelm­ing­ly elect­ed to serve on the Coun­cil four years ago, eas­i­ly dis­patch­ing sev­er­al oppo­nents in the August Top Two elim­i­na­tion round and then defeat­ing Pat Muraka­mi again in the gen­er­al election.

González received 64.47% of the vote — more sup­port than all of her oppo­nents com­bined near­ly twice over. She is one of two of the city’s at-large coun­cilmem­bers along with Tere­sa Mosque­da, the vic­tor in the oth­er coun­cil race four years ago, who is ahead in her reelec­tion bid tonight.

The com­ing Har­rell-González matchup promis­es to be very inter­est­ing. Both have expe­ri­ence serv­ing the peo­ple of Seat­tle and work­ing in city hall, but they are empha­siz­ing dif­fer­ent themes and pol­i­cy direc­tions in their campaigns.

For exam­ple, the two can­di­dates have staked out oppo­site posi­tions on Char­ter Amend­ment 29, Com­pas­sion Seat­tle’s pro­pos­al to amend the city’s plan of gov­ern­ment to intro­duce new direc­tives con­cern­ing the city’s oblig­a­tions on address­ing home­less­ness, which is opposed by House Our Neighbors.

Har­rell backs CA 29, while González is opposed.

In the Top Two elec­tion, Har­rell received the endorse­ment of The Seat­tle Times, while González earned the endorse­ment of The Stranger.

With thir­teen rival can­di­dates soon to be out of the pic­ture, and their sup­port­ers up for grabs, Har­rell and González will undoubt­ed­ly begin work­ing the phones to stock­pile new endorse­ments for the gen­er­al election.

137,541 Seat­tle vot­ers have returned bal­lots so far, which is 27.87% of the elec­torate. Not all of those bal­lots have been tab­u­lat­ed and not all of the bal­lots cast by the dead­line are in elec­tions’ offi­cials hands yet, so the turnout rate will climb a lit­tle bit from where it is now. Still, this was a pret­ty low turnout elec­tion. If these races had been on last year’s Top Two bal­lot, the num­ber of vot­ers par­tic­i­pat­ing would be more than dou­ble what we’re cur­rent­ly seeing.

About the author

Andrew Villeneuve is the founder and executive director of the Northwest Progressive Institute, as well as the founder of NPI's sibling, the Northwest Progressive Foundation. He has worked to advance progressive causes for over two decades as a strategist, speaker, author, and organizer. Andrew is also a cybersecurity expert, a veteran facilitator, a delegate to the Washington State Democratic Central Committee, and a member of the Climate Reality Leadership Corps.

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