Nikkita Oliver is voting for Cary Moon for mayor—but don't call it an endorsement.
Oliver, an attorney and educator who took third in the primary election for mayor, told KUOW yesterday that she will be voting for Moon.
"As a voter individually, I think most people know where my vote will lie," Oliver said. "I will obviously vote for Cary Moon, given the options."
"We're in the same position, in some ways, that we were in this last national election," Oliver said later in the interview, "where one candidate clearly does not serve the interests of the most impacted and the other doesn't necessarily have the most thorough analysis around what that looks like. And, as a person who's impacted, I am faced with choosing the better of the two."
But Oliver maintained that her newly formed party, the Seattle Peoples Party, is not yet endorsing Moon. Moon should approach the party with an offer in exchange for an endorsement, Oliver said. "We're playing chess here, not checkers."
While Oliver said "we know exactly what it is that we need from elected officials," she did not outline specific policies Moon would need to support in order to win the Peoples Party endorsement. She instead emphasized giving people affected by issues like income inequality real political power.
"There are ways to restructure our city government that make sure that the most impacted folks actually have political power and political decision making power... we have to make sure that that's exactly what is put on the table," Oliver said.
Moon, an engineer best known for her opposition to the downtown tunnel, beat Oliver by fewer than 2,000 votes for the second place spot. She'll face former U.S. attorney Jenny Durkan in the November general election. The Seattle Peoples Party is new to local politics, and Oliver was its first candidate. The party is now pledging to work on initiatives like De-escalate Washington and to run other candidates for office in the future.
Former State Rep. Jessyn Farrell, who came in fourth in the primary, told The Stranger she does not plan to make any decisions about who to endorse until after labor day. Two other serious candidates who did not make it through the primary—Mike McGinn, and Bob Hasegawa—did not return a request for comment about who they plan to endorse.
In the interview with KUOW, Oliver also reiterated her earlier criticisms of Moon, who is largely self-funding her own campaign. Moon's wealth doesn't preclude her from governing, Oliver said, "but it does require her to acknowledge that, if she talks about income inequality, that she actually participates and benefits from that system of inequality and that does put candidates like myself and future candidates of the Peoples Party at a disadvantage."
"I do not think that Cary Moon has effectively acknowledged that she lives in a very different place in society than the people she purports to be organizing for," Oliver added later, "and as a Seattle Peoples Party member and as someone who's in that aspect of Seattle that she talks about, I 100 percent believe that we have to be self-determined, self empowered. And that requires folks with power and privilege to sometimes get out of the way and allow us to take the lead."