"I didn't allow myself to really have any expectations," Nicole Macri told the SECB, looking at the results showing her absolutely fucking crushing it in the race for the 43rd legislative district. "So I'm astounded. I was hopeful we'd be in the top two, but I'm totally just so amazed by the voters in the 43rd."
Macri said she's planning to stick to her message focused on housing affordability and homelessness headed toward November.
"Folks are excited about having a woman representative," she added. "Issues around gender equity are really important to folks. And housing affordability is an issue that almost everyone I talked to cares about whether or not it's personally impacting them—and it is impacting a lot of people in our district."
Fuck yes. The Washington State Legislature is currently only 33 percent women.
Around 5 p.m. tonight, Macri said her partner was phone-banking and reached a man who had his ballot out on the kitchen table and was undecided in the 43rd district. "She told him about me and our message," Macri said, "and he was like, 'I'm sold. I'm going to drop off my ballot right now.'"
Meanwhile, on the other side of the brewery, the SECB found political consultant Sandeep Kaushik clacking away on a laptop and drinking white wine. Kaushik ran the campaign against the viaduct park, which just lost with only 20 percent of the vote. The plan was totally bananas. It would have replaced the crumbling viaduct for cars with a new, smaller viaduct for people with no new funding source. And Kaushik was feeling smug.
"I don't know how many campaigns I've done," Kaushik said, "but I don't think I've ever gotten 80 percent before."
"I don't think it was just a no vote," Kaushik said, "but a significant affirmation of the fact that after years of public work and extensive public process and thousands of comments from Seattleites across the city [about the city's plan for the waterfront], it was a validation."
As the SECB asked Kaushik more about what it all means, "Fight Song"—that terrible and terribly catchy song that played when Hillary Clinton accepted the nomination for president—came on over the speakers. The SECB has not been able to stop listening to this song lately, even though the SECB knows that it is objectively, undeniably bad. Thinking about Macri and Clinton and affordable housing and the drunk babies from earlier, the SECB was glad to hear it one more time before we headed off into the night.
The SECB admits to having been a little worried about attending Joe McDermott's primary party tonight. Sure, he seems pretty boring, but he also whipped out an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle in a campaign ad. Anything could happen, we thought.
Well, nothing did happen. Not a victory. Not a defeat. Not a pizza. Pramila Jayapal took a commanding portion of the District 7 vote tonight, leaving McDermott and Brady Walkinshaw to fight it out for second place.
The crowd retained an admirable level of joviality considering it may be days before they find out if their candidate goes through to the general election. They're just a really happy seeming group. Very smiley.
As McDermott stood at the podium to deliver his 'I haven't lost yet' speech, his supporters gathered around with their Sprites and their pints of Mac & Jac, all grins and rhythmic chanting.
Campaign manager Grant Lahmann was, naturally, hopeful that McDermott's base would come through. (Who could argue? This is the candidate no one flipped off, remember? You can't argue with a lack of reaction like that.)
(The SECB did have a victory, however. We found the owner of the red shoes! This savvy customer purchased them, in duplicate, at Nordstrom. They are reportedly very comfortable.)
As the crowd thinned out following McDermott's speech, a man in a corduroy jacket took to the podium and mimed pounding a gavel. We're not sure what he was ruling on exactly, but we judge this party over.
As the results currently stand, Marcus Courtney's getting crushed in the race for 43rd District state rep. The techie labor organizer, who the SECB had only kinda heard of before this race, was hugely overshadowed by candidate and affordable housing rockstar Nicole Macri, who currently works for the Downtown Emergency Services Center.
Despite receiving little more than 3 percent of King County residents' votes (compared to Macri's nearly 50 percent of votes), Courtney, who is ever-chipper, says he's still optimistic. "It hasn't even been an hour!" he said.
"I think the votes coming in are more focused on the Capitol Hill and Montlake areas. ... I've been more focused on areas in the North and I think my message resonates stronger up there," Courtney said. "I think they're much more tuned in to the pro-worker message. They're concerned about the affordability, especially around their jobs, wages, and benefits."
Courtney told the SECB this all with a calm smile on his face. We looked into his eyes and found that he didn't even look a little dead inside. Bless him. (He is also very, very excited about his campaign video, which received TWELVE THOUSAND VIEWS!! Precious.)
Now that we've had some wine—SUP, KIRKLAND SIGNATURE??—we're warming up to this small, but cozy party. Here's what else we heard:
"Pramila is already declaring? Wow," someone said snidely. (We think we have a McDermott fan in the room.)
"I don't know who Kate Martin is," said Courtney. "Good!" muttered a supporter. "She's a very volatile person," said another. (If you read our endorsements, you know for damn sure that "volatile" is an understatement.)
Having stepped out for a phone call, we went back in to hear no more Steve Miller Band, only Kate Martin asking for a bit of help finding the election results on the laptop she had plugged into a large flat screen TV on the wall.
Bad news for Initiative 123, the effort to build a park on top of the viaduct:
"Shellacked," she announced to the small crowd (which now included a KUOW reporter and two civilians). "My least favorite option. But it's okay. I've been shellacked before."
Her voice still contained a bit of mirth that built into a big clap of laughter when the Times reporter asked if she was all done trying to change the face of downtown Seattle.
"Oh, I'm definitely done," she said.
Without much else to discuss, the party (now consisting of eight people, four of whom were journalists) conversation turned back to the waterfront itself. Martin said that her kids feel "they have no place to go downtown. The sculpture park is nice but Seattle has this idea of pocket parks where you go to drink your coffee. What about a place where you can stroll?"
As it has at every party we have ever attended, our attention turned to the records, prominently displayed in open cabinets mounted to the wall. In addition to the two Steve Miller Band LPs (Fly Like an Eagle and Book of Dreams), we also spotted a Roy Orbison album, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band Live 1975-85, More Songs About Buildings and Food by Talking Heads, and Elvis Costello's Trust. We considered asking her about her interesting collection, as we have nothing useful to contribute to a conversation about the insider intricacies of waterfront planning and redevelopment. But then we remembered a line from our favorite song on Trust: "toughen up, toughen up/ keep your lip buttoned up," and we did.
"I'm adequately shellacked," we heard Martin repeat. "But I'm glad it's over." Heading out, we said we didn't know what to say, since congratulations weren't in order, but she also didn't seem upset by the loss.
"It is a congratulation," she said. "I can't pretend I'm not relieved to wake up tomorrow and not be faced with a bunch of campaign duties."
Dammit, dammit, dammit, dammit. The Stranger endorsed Pramila Jayapal for the 7th District, and now our second-favorite in the race, Brady Piñero Walkinshaw, is trailing Joe McDermott, a guy we did not want in the general election, by a slim 586 votes.
586 votes. DO NOT TELL US THAT VOTING DOESN'T MATTER!!!!
But Walkinshaw says that he fully expects to make it to the general. He thinks he can pull ahead in the next two days with late (read: young, millennial) voters. In a speech to his enthusiastic supporters, Walkinshaw said that he got a haircut today and walked out of the haircutting place in tears. His haircutter was formerly incarcerated, Walkinshaw said. "And he asked me if I was elected to Congress whether I would be able to change two things: He asked me if I would change mandatory minimums in this country so we're not incarcerating 10 times as many people as we ought to," Walkinshaw said. "The second thing he said is that we need to change the parole system so it's not as racist as it is. Those are the values we're going to fight for in November."
His supporters cheered: "BRA-DY! BRA-DY! BRA-DY!" Walkinshaw thanked his husband, Micah. Someone shouted: "WE LOVE YOU, MICAH!"
We asked Walkinshaw on Facebook Live whether he blamed The Stranger for not endorsing him, and thus Joe McDermott's 0.6 percent lead. (As we've mentioned before, we believe this has much to do with McDermott's name recognition and little else.) Walkinshaw told us he didn't. As soon as we turned off our phone he said, "I totally blame you guys." Then: "Just kidding."
This post has been updated.
Housing levy supporters got
cozy sweaty huddled in the corner of the brewery to listen to speeches from the mayor and other housing levy proponents after the results came in. And, in classic Seattle fashion, they all shushed each other when their chatter started to drown out whichever wonk was at the mic.
Mayor Ed Murray sounded thrilled, relieved, and as on message as ever.
"We often hear that Seattle is hopelessly divided," Murray said, arguing the levy's decisive victory is evidence to the contrary.
The $290 million levy is the largest housing levy in the city's history and double the last housing levy. IT'S $290 MILLION FOR PUBLIC FUNDING FOR HOUSING FOR POOR PEOPLE. It's a big fucking deal.
Murray also touted the $15 minimum wage and other planned housing affordability measures the city will work on this year as progress the city has made in recent years.
"And ladies and gentlemen," the mayor said as he closed his speech, "I've only just begun."
DAMMMMMNNN, ED. GET. IT.
As the speeches wrapped up, Tim Burgess toasted Michael Maddux with a mug branded with the levy logo. The mug made Burgess look like a grandpa drinking tea while everyone else gets drunk, but we heard from an aide there's wine in there.
GOOD LUCK, DAN!
Dan Shih didn't tell his supporters what percentage of votes he has so far (26%). All he said is, "We're in the top two!" and the crowd went nuts, because that means he had five months to gain ground against Nicole Macri (49%).
Can he do it? Not to be too braggadocious or anything, but, um, without the SECB's endorsement, it's gonna be hard. Capitol Hill is basically our turf. But sure, give your crew hope, Dan. You have the Seattle Times on your side. Go for it. Give it your best shot. (Shih thanked his campaign manager, Noel, and revealed that it's her first job out of college. She blushed and smiled.)
Did we mention it's fucking hot in here? We came up and outside for air, after downing some sushi rolls, and oh my god it feels so, so good.
Posted by The Stranger on Tuesday, August 2, 2016
They're currently separated by a few hundred votes.
"This is fucking awesome!" says a volunteer as the numbers go up, showing Pramila Jayapal with a commanding lead of 39 percent. (The second- and third-place finishers in this race are at 21.07 and 21.66 percent, respectively.) The crowd begins chanting the motto of the United Farm Workers: Si, se puede! Si, se puede!
We ask a volunteer: What do you think did it? "Never underestimate the power of bold progressive policies," the volunteer says. "And she's a badass."
"We can and will reclaim our government to work for all of us!" Jayapal says to thunderous applause as she takes the stage, in front of supporters that include former city council person Nick Licata. She says something about the "multi-hued, multi-gendered" future and says we're all "mightier together than any one of us can be alone."
She also says, referencing the second-place near-tie in this race, "I'm looking forward to seeing who I'm going to run against in November. And I'm looking forward to a very lively exchange about who can best represent voters and get things done in Congress."
She talks about going "from being underdogs" to being in first tonight. She says the campaign so far has had over 30 interns, has knocked on over 70,000 doors, and has made over 140,000 phone calls. "Talking to voters in their homes is what keeps us real. It is what tells us exactly what's happening out there."
She also says, "I am so proud to be the labor candidate in the race." She lists off women's groups, LGBTQ groups, minority groups, and others who supported the campaign. "Even as we watch Donald Trump exploit real people's troubles and try to turn us against each other," she said, she's undaunted about protecting Planned Parenthood, taking action on climate change, and more.
And then she starts thanking all the members of her campaign team. Jayapal says, "This team knocked my socks off." And it's true: She is not wearing socks.
Check out a certain member of the SECB getting the TRUTH from the Walkinshaw party at the Comet.
Brady Walkinshaw's Elex Night Party
Posted by The Stranger on Tuesday, August 2, 2016
Walkinshaw's part two
Posted by The Stranger on Tuesday, August 2, 2016
The room went crazy here when the results were announced. The housing levy is up significantly, the viaduct park got crushed, and Macri handily made it through the primary.
Seattle City Council member Tim Burgess and political consultants gathered around Maddux as he read the results: 68 percent of Seattle supported the housing levy in the first ballot drop. They loud out loud cheers and applause like Hillary Clinton just won the presidential election. Stranger writer-turned-lobbyist Sandeep Kaushik—who ran the anti-viaduct-park campaign—is pacing the sidewalk outside on his cell phone looking thrilled. Urbanist types and council staffers are getting their babies drunk even more enthusiastically than before. Mayor Ed Murray and Burgess are expected to address the crowd soon.
The SECB arrived at Joe McDermott's party at the Alki Huddle Sports Bar & Grill buoyed by an air of hope and salty West Seattle breezes. We also arrived a feeling a little peckish, but alas, without a the benefit of a snack table we pushed down our dreams of pizza and cheese balls and content ourselves with a feast of fashion.
Well, a snack of fashion.
Out of the chatty crowd gathered in groups of checked shirts around the back of the bar, I spotted a pair of cherry red oxfords so gleaming that we thought we might be spirited home to another party where there was food.
The SECB must have been looking thirsty for those shoes, because Patrick, McDermott's friendly field manager, offered us an icy cup of soda from one of the assembled pitchers of Coke and Sprite.
Then it was on to Joe himself, who helpfully launched into a pre-loaded speech about the day's activities, which included waving signs—"I was disappointed no one flipped me off"—and a meal at Denny's. (We also eavesdropped on a conversation about someone's summer plans. Mystery novels!) That done, the SECB went off in search of Dorothy, though she was no where to be found. Perhaps got hungry and went to get hot wings.
Dan Shih's party is hot! It's sweltering down here... in the basement of downtown condo tower (if we were a few floors up, we'd have a sweet view of the water. Dangit.) Lots of sweaty brows, shrieking kids playing hide and seek under the table, and plenty of sushi and booze. (Also, a yellow Dan Shih mug for every person here. Tons of them.) It's a cool scene —Definitely a bilingual party: We're hearing as much Chinese as English. Dan shrugged and grinned when we asked him how he's feeling about his prospects tonight (against the likes of powerhouse Nicole Macri). State Rep. Jamie Pederson just walked in. Besides him, the crowd seems to be mostly friends and family.
One advantage to turning your ballot in to a drop box at the last second we just discovered: These friendly folks will personally accept it and thank you for voting. Restores a little bit of the human touch that we lost when we switched to vote by mail.
The SECB was—FOR ONCE—on time this evening and ya know what? IT DIDN'T PAY OFF. We were the only non-family member present during the first hour of 43rd LD candidate Marcus Courtney's campaign party, which is being hosted in the community lounge of his swanky apartment building in Downtown's business district. Courtney, a former contract Microsoftie, reminded us of our college dorm's awkward, very white RA as he pointed out the bathrooms and tried to show us around while also peppering in why we should like him. (He's pretty alright.) We awkwardly picked at some Pirate's Booty (basically cheese covered styrofoam that is still somehow delicious??) for the first half hour while making small talk because we were unable to inconspicuously type in a corner.
When the first non-family, non-SECB guest waltzed in A HALF HOUR LATE (c'mon, man!) he immediately began chattering our ear off about lidding Interstate 5. We awkwardly stuffed tortilla chips in our mouth, nodded furiously, and eyed the (modest) collection of wine on the counter. KING 5 was blaring in the background.
Someone please send coffee or else we will be spending the rest of the evening in this weird, carpeted lounge trying not to get wine drunk.
Walking through the front yard skate park and into Kate Martin's private house, we came upon a party of four: Martin, Nick Licata, a "supporter" who prefers not to be named, and a Seattle Times reporter with a laptop. Licata left immediately and was soon replaced by a Crosscut reporter, leaving the numbers at two humans and three reporters.
Martin could not have been a more gracious host, offering us a Limonata (accepted), and replacing one Steve Miller Band vinyl record on the turntable with another (Fly Like an Eagle).
She asked me whether we had a prediction about the ballot. We don't. Neither of us has heard any early returns. She was voluble about her campaign's struggle to get the word out, being out fund-raised by the "inexplicable" SDOT plan (which she has no love for), not being able to persuade the "brain trust" of the Seattle Downtown Association thinking as a unit, and her profound love of the view from the viaduct ("I've written songs about it").
"Change is hard," she told us. "This is Seattle."
The Crosscut reporter left. Another Times reporter arrived.
"Jungle love," sang Steve Miller. "It's making me mad, making me crazy."
This party is a three-fer: The pro-housing levy and anti-viaduct park campaigns are both hanging out here at Optimism Brewing. Plus Nicole Macri—the SECB-endorsed/adored housing wonk running to represent Capitol Hill—is having her party here too. There is a decent snack spread—veggie tray, roast beef croissant sandwiches, cookies—and a bunch of beers that all have coy names like "Automatic." Also: Michael Maddux is here!
But it's still early and nobody is getting weird yet. As the SECB wandered around scanning for local politicians and hot young urbanists—the SECB is very single—we overheard a woman who was carrying a baby and holding the hand of a toddler say to the kids, "Want a beer? Look at all this beer!"
The babies did not respond. The SECB made a beeline for the bar.
Most smart local people agree all three of these camps are going to have a good night. The housing levy is definitely going to pass, that viaduct park is going down, and Macri is very likely headed to the general in the race for the 43rd legislative district. But the SECB's confidence didn't seem to help Macri. When we asked how she was feeling, her response was one word: "Nervous."
Maddux and the other organizers behind the housing levy are feeling confident. There's always a lot of talk in Seattle about "levy fatigue," but this levy, which is double the last housing levy, is expected to pass easily.
"When we are able to put forward a smart plan to voters and they can trust and know that it will make a difference," Kelly Rider, policy director at the Housing Development Consortium, told the SECB, "then we're going to see voters stepping up when they need to in our broken revenue system."
Soon after that, the SECB noticed Stranger publisher Tim Keck, who immediately began harassing the SECB about why the SECB's beer was so big and why this Slog post was taking the SECB so long. Keck looks bored alongside normie city wonks like Scott Kubly and Tim Burgess. The SECB does not think he'll last long here.
The Stranger arrived at the Comet way too early and promptly had to pee. Inside a stall, we found a jarringly relevant piece of bathroom prose. Written in lipstick, or maybe menstrual blood, it read: FUCK THE DNC. (We hope it was menstrual blood. 👯👣🔥 )
Brady Walkinshaw, the state representative from Capitol Hill running for the 7th Congressional District, is not the DNC, but he did endorse Hillary. Does that sort of make him the DNC? We don't know. One of his main challengers, state senator Pramila Jayapal, endorsed Bernie early on and told The Stranger that she could be the bridge to building in the progressive movement into the Democratic party.
Thing is, Walkinshaw is pretty fucking cool, too. He worked in the state legislature to make it easier for emergency responders to get their hands on naloxone, the heroin overdose-reversing drug. The Low Income Housing Alliance voted him "Legislator of the Year" in 2015. He's a strong advocate for criminal justice reform, racial justice, and trans rights. He's 34, and he and his husband are objectively fucking adorable together. (Not that adorableness should matter! Sorry! Eek!) Pramila may have Bernie cred, and cred for founding immigrant advocacy organization OneAmerica, and cred for responding thoughtfully and passionately to critics of Black Lives Matter, and cred for speaking often and loudly about economic inequality and policies that favor corporations at the expense of everyone else, but Walkinshaw has excellent cred as well.
So, in light of aforementioned cred, we are now drinking whiskey and crossing our fingers that Seattle voters didn't fall for the McDermott trap—the trap being that the person who held the 7th Congressional District seat for 26 years was Jim McDermott, and this year, a guy named Joe McDermott is running for the open seat. Joe McDermott does not-uh impress-uh us much. We want Brady and Pramila in the general election. Not Brady and Joe. Not Joe and Pramila. Brady and Pramila. No McDermotts, ya dig? Not this time. None.
Is this our first glass of whiskey? No, no it is not. A big screen is projecting pictures of Brady Piñero Walkinshaw walking around leafy neighborhoods and conversing with his constituents. It is nice. But where is the man of the hour? He’s not yet arrived. Bra-dy! Bra-dy! ONE OF US! ONE OF US!
Sure, we're fine. Mass shootings happen regularly, Korryn Gaines is the ninth black woman killed by police this year, Donald Trump is the Republican presidential nominee, rape is an occupational hazard of being alive while female, and everything is fine. Fine, fine, fine, fine. Brady, come save us.
The SECB has been loitering around the neighborhood of Freball for a while now, waiting for Pramila Jayapal's party to start at Hale's Ales Palladium Room. Only a moment ago, we were corrected by a TV news reporter who overheard us refer to the neighborhood as "Freball" and told us: "It's Frelard." Au contraire. As everyone knows, the area where Fremont and Ballard meets is called Freball. Long e.
We got to talking to these two sign-holding volunteers. We asked why they wanted to volunteer for Jayapal, and her communications intern, on the right, said, "Because we love her. I'm not even in her district. I'm from Bainbridge Island."
"And I'm from Bellevue," said her finance intern, on the left. "I'm half Indian so seeing the first South Asian woman elected to Congress would be awesome."
Once inside the party, we met a third volunteer who doesn't live in Jayapal's district either, but is volunteering for her anyway. No one seems ready to predict whether Jayapal will be in the top two once the numbers drop. She had The Stranger's endorsement, so we'll see how far that takes her. Also in this race is a guy with the Seattle Times's endorsement and another guy who happens to have the same last name as the incumbent (even though he's not the incumbent—not by a long shot).
We talked to Jayapal's campaign manager Aaron Bly, who told us, in a room surrounded by circus decorations and strings of lights, that he wasn't ready to make a prediction either. There's been no polling. But he said: "We feel good about what we've done in this campaign. We've worked hard. We've reached out to over 210,000 voters between phones and doors.”
It's primary night! We've spent months figuring out who you should vote for. Now we're going to figure out if any of our local candidates for US Congress, governor, lieutenant governor (still don't know what the fuck that is), and state legislature can competently throw a party.
Wish us luck! Save us drink tickets! Lock your doors! We'll be heading out in the early evening and reporting back from all over Seattle as the ballot counts come in (at 8:15 pm) and the dreams of eager pols are made, dashed, and turned upside down for celebratory keg stands. (Looking at you, Pramila.)
Check back in to this post for updates as the night goes on.