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.