For the second day in a row, the race for Seattle City Attorney has seen a lead change. As of this evening’s drop by King County Elections, Nicole Thomas-Kennedy is the top vote getting candidate for the Emerald City’s chief law enforcement position, followed by Ann Davison. Incumbent City Attorney Pete Holmes remains in third place and has conceded the race to his opponents.
Here’s where the race stands right now:
Seattle City Attorney, as of Friday, August 6th, 2021
- Nicole Thomas-Kennedy: 35.45% (58,776 votes)
- Ann Davison: 33.08% (54,839 votes)
- Pete Holmes: 31.19% (51,698 votes)
Thomas-Kennedy, forty-six, trailed both Davison and Holmes on Election Night. Had those results been the final results, she would have been eliminated.
But of course, there were more votes left to count. Having performed exceptionally well in the late ballots, NTK has jumped from third place to first place — an impressive accomplishment and one reached in just forty-eight hours.
The trend seems clear enough at this point: in all likelihood, when results are certified, Thomas-Kennedy will be the winner, with Davison close behind.
Holmes certainly sees the writing on the wall. In a lengthy statement, he conceded and wished his opponents well. Here is that statement:
After two decades of public service to Seattle – the last twelve as your City Attorney – it’s time to acknowledge that my opponents will be advancing to the general election. While defeat is difficult to accept, it’s inconsequential compared to the collective pain we’ve suffered as a City throughout this pandemic.
Looking forward, I have five months left as City Attorney, and I don’t intend to waste them. I’m already working with Seattle City Council to establish a public Victim Compensation Fund to help make crime victims whole. I’ll continue to build upon our proven Choose 180 pre-filing diversion program, which has had a 92% non-recidivism rate since 2017. And early next week, I’ll appear before U.S. District Court Judge James Robart to report on our continuing effort to reform and improve our police department.
The City Attorney’s Office is staffed with talented and dedicated public servants, and I expect the next City Attorney will learn to rely on the expertise of the paralegals, receptionists, information technologists, legal assistants, victim advocates, and lawyers who made serving in this position the highlight of my professional career.
It’s with their knowledge and skills that my successor will be queued up for trial against Monsanto for polluting the Duwamish River next year, to continue defending the JumpStart tax to aid the unsheltered, and to cut the ribbon on a new criminal diversion program for older adults.
As attention turns to the General Election, candidates can and should levy criticisms – but I hope the public holds them accountable to making accurate claims. The City Attorney’s Office does not have jurisdiction over felonies like murders, burglaries, drug offenses, or auto theft. Low-level cases like shoplifting and trespass are referred to the newly-established Community Court where intervention and restoration are the outcome, not jail. If we keep things honest, Seattleites will be rewarded with a fruitful and dynamic debate that will help define Seattle’s future for the next four years.
Journalists play a key role in this process, too, and I hope that they will be true to their core responsibility to help fully inform the voters.
After facing one candidate who considered my criminal policies too lax and another who considered them too draconian, it’s clear Seattle’s a city with fractured views, sadly reflective of the polarized politics that grips our nation. Whether the Republican candidate or the Abolitionist candidate prevails in November, they’ll face a truly daunting set of challenges, not least of which includes protecting the City from an avalanche of litigation arising out of the Durkan administration, and a thousands-deep criminal case backlog wrought by the pandemic closure of our courts.
I’m beyond thankful to my supporters, donors, Democracy Voucher holders, campaign team, and most importantly to the voters who selected me to represent them in three citywide elections. Lastly, I want to thank my wife and fellow lawyer for tolerating life with an elected official. This Sunday we’ll celebrate our 40th Wedding Anniversary – an apt time to consider our next chapters together!
So, congratulations, candidates, and best of luck in the General Election. With a city so ideologically splintered, whoever wins will certainly need it.
Four years ago, Holmes won reelection with three-fourths of the vote and did not face elimination in the Top Two round at all. What a difference four years makes. It’s a reminder that voters like to punish complacency when least expected to.
The Top Two election is slated to be certified on Tuesday, August 17th, 2021.