Endorsements comparison
The online presentations of the endorsements made by the Seattle Times and The Stranger for the August 2023 Top Two election (Screenshots)

Today, with bal­lots about to go into the mail to in-state vot­ers, The Stranger released its high­ly-antic­i­pat­ed endorse­ments for the 2023 Top Two elec­tion in Wash­ing­ton State. Like The Seat­tle Times, The Stranger issues endorse­ments for city, port, school board, and coun­ty offices, but it releas­es them all at once rather than one-by-one on dif­fer­ent days as The Seat­tle Times prefers to do.

With each paper’s set of endorse­ments now avail­able to scru­ti­nize, our team thought it would be inter­est­ing to do a com­par­i­son and see where the papers agree and dis­agree. You might think the papers would be far apart in their choic­es, and some­times they were… but not always!

Here’s a grid:

For Seat­tle City Coun­cil, The Seat­tle Times and The Stranger were far apart.

But as you can see, three can­di­dates for three oth­er lev­els of gov­ern­ment (coun­ty, port, school board) were for­tu­nate enough to score endorse­ments from both papers: Jorge L. Barón, Fred Felle­man, and Gina Topp.

Each of them has two opponents.

Felle­man is an incum­bent; Topp and Barón aren’t. Topp and Barón prob­a­bly stand to ben­e­fit the most from going two for two with the newspapers.

Some­thing our team noticed last year is that Seat­tle-area can­di­dates who won the endorse­ments of both papers did well in their respec­tive races.

For exam­ple, Julia Reed got 55.10% of the vote in the August 2022 Top Two elec­tion, while Emi­ly Alvara­do got 54.04%.

In an adja­cent dis­trict, Chipa­lo Street got 41.53% (a plurality).

All of them were run­ning for open seats and did­n’t have the advan­tage of incum­ben­cy. All secured the endorse­ments of both papers last sum­mer and all went on to become state rep­re­sen­ta­tives by com­fort­able margins.

They now rep­re­sent the 36th, 34th, and 37th Dis­tricts, respectively.

We know from our Seat­tle and King Coun­ty polling that news­pa­per endorse­ments and media cov­er­age mat­ter. 50% of King Coun­ty vot­ers sur­veyed last July by Change Research for the North­west Pro­gres­sive Insti­tute said that at elec­tion time, they go to mass media like The Seat­tle Times, KING5, or KUOW (NPR) to obtain infor­ma­tion about what is on the bal­lot and make a decision.

The only source vot­ers in King Coun­ty count on more is the offi­cial voter’s pam­phlet pub­lished by King Coun­ty Elec­tions — 83% said they use that resource.

In a few weeks, we’ll have data from the Top Two elec­tion to study. We’ll see if the can­di­dates who won the endorse­ments of both papers cruise or not.

Our guess is that they at least well posi­tioned to avoid elimination.

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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