Peter Steinbrueck? You guys voted for Peter Steinbrueck? Damn, a low turnout during August primaries really shows how much power name recognition has.
We can trust that the first ballot drop for port shows who's making it to the general election. Third and fourth places in these races weren't even close to first and second, which also lays bare the kind of uncomfortable power the SECB's cheat sheet has: All of our picks for port—even the names voters would never recognize—made it through. Cool! But the other people who made it through, those who took the lead in all three of the races, are people everyone expected to win. They were incumbents John Creighton and Stephanie Bowman, and then in the wide-open race for Position No. 4, former Seattle City Councilmember Peter Steinbrueck.
Stephanie Bowman won 55 percent of the vote, so it looks like former labor organizer and Somali refugee Ahmed Abdi has a steep uphill climb through November if he wants to win against Bowman's port-as-usual (but very knowledgeable) pitch. Incumbent John Creighton, however, only won 35 percent of the vote to bright-eyed newcomer Ryan Calkins' 28 percent. (Creighton looks vulnerable.) Renton city employee and climate change policy nerd Preeti Shridhar won 20 percent of the vote to Peter Steinbrueck's 25 percent, and sadly, labor leader John Persak only got 13 percent. We would have loved to see a race between Shridhar and Persak instead, but it'll be interesting to watch who Persak endorses, if he endorses and if he doesn't pull ahead.
The port commission looks flippable, but it's not going to be easy between now and November. The biggest challenge the newcomer candidates have is not only making people give a fuck about the port, but making people give a fuck about how the port commission will choose a new "executive director" after years of scandal afflicting the former CEO position. A name change means nothing without a culture change, and hopefully challengers will articulate how they plan to embrace that change between now and the general.