President, shmesident: The real electoral action is in 2009, when at least two—and possibly as many as four—Seattle City Council seats will be coming open. Jan Drago and Richard McIver will be stepping down; Nick Licata, after three terms, may do the same; and rumor has it that Richard Conlin has already set up a steering committee to consider a run for mayor. Add to that mix the possibility of partial public financing of elections, and the 2009 elections could be the most crowded, and exciting, local elections since the mass ouster of 2003. Here's a look at some of the rumored contenders.

Jordan Royer. Son of former mayor Charles Royer, the younger Royer is best known for pushing for restrictions on malt-liquor sales downtown and supporting a special license for nightclubs as a member of Mayor Greg Nickels's staff. Although Royer was traveling this week, numerous sources say he's "definitely" in the mix.

James Donaldson. A former player for the Sonics who now runs a small chain of fitness centers, Donaldson is rumored to be running for Drago's open seat, aka the business seat. (Before she joined the council, Drago ran a Häagen-Dazs franchise.) This past year, Donaldson made his first-ever donation to a local candidate: $100 to now council member Bruce Harrell.

Darryl Smith. A soft-spoken Buddhist who ran against Judy Nicastro four years ago and went on to lead the charge against CASA Latina's plans to open a day-laborer site in South Seattle, Smith confirms that he's "thinking about" running. However, the South End real-estate agent may not want to abandon a lucrative career selling homes along the soon-to-open light-rail line.

Alec Fisken. The former reform-slate port commissioner lost his race for reelection by less than 1 percentage point in 2007, with donations from hundreds of local powerhouses. And he cleaned up in Seattle—an indication that he has good name recognition here. And a job on the city council, unlike the port, pays money (around $100,000).

Jessie Israel. Currently the parks program manager for the county, Israel was the administrator for the Center for Women & Democracy, which was cofounded by political consultant Cathy Allen. Although Israel hasn't made a formal decision, she says, "I'm excited about the possibility of running."

Robert Rosencrantz. The two-time council challenger has unsuccessfully taken on Judy Nicastro and Richard McIver, losing each race in the primary. Perhaps an open seat will be the charm? Rosencrantz is friends with Drago, and her seat would be a natural for him to seek—except for the pesky presence of Donaldson, who's rumored to be interested in Drago's seat as well. recommended