A QUICK TAKE POST-BALLOT DROP: WOW! BAD FOR SEATTLE PROGRESSIVES, BUT KATHY LAMBERT IS DOWN 10.5
Wellllll, after the first ballot drop, Seattle appears to have chosen a Trump Republican to run its law department, a corporate training manual for a mayor, a beer lobbyist for a city council member, and Teresa Mosqueda. Even though the results tend to shift to the left because progressives turn their ballots in later in the week, and even though we're only seeing half the results, the more conservative candidates in this election are way out ahead of the progressives. If the results basically hold, then Seattle progressives will still maintain control of the city council, but the three more-conservative members might be able to stop veto-proof majorities, and we'll probably be seeing a lot more cruel, useless sweeps.
The good news is Teresa Mosqueda leads NIMBY and SPOG-bud Kenneth Wilson 52 to 47 in the citywide city council race. He'll go back to building bridges, which is what he's good at.
Abolitionist city attorney candidate Nicole Thomas-Kennedy is doing second-best of the progressives, trailing Republican Ann Davison 41 to 58. The final numbers will end up being closer than that, but a 17-point deficit will be hard to make up. In a statement, NTK is "urging patience until every vote is counted," and her spokesperson pointed to the big jump in turnout on Monday and Tuesday to justify the campaign feeling "hopeful."
Beer lobbyist and Fremont Brewing co-owner Sara Nelson leads attorney and Creative Justice director Nikkita Oliver 60 to 39.5. Again, coming back from a 20.5 deficit will be difficult.
Former city council president Bruce Harrell leads current city council president Lorena González 65 to 35, establishing the largest lead in the city races. In a statement, González said: “Tonight’s results, and the fact that the votes of so many of our voters, who tend to vote at the very end, have not been counted means we may not know until late in the week or next week who the next mayor will be. We respect every vote as equal regardless as to when it was cast and we will not prejudge the outcome."
Overheard at the González party: Discussions between staffers of relaxing hikes close to the city; attempts to calm an extremely bored child; pursuing a Poly-Sci degree at UW; González asking who has her beer.
What we are not hearing is very much shock. Attendees have taken the so-far second-placing of their preferred candidate in stride. Well, what else can one do?
“Thank you all for all that you’ve done,” an older man told a throng of staffers as they packed up a tray of leftovers with some seriousness.
Overheard out on the patio: “Port could be good,” referring to Toshiko Hasegawa trailing Peter Steinbrueck by the slimmest of margins. That’s the spirit.
As the party wound down and bartenders collected glasses, attendees waved their goodbyes and headed out into the night. “I missed you so much!” one toddler-carrying mom told another woman as they headed for the exit. “See you next time,” her friend said. “Yup, next time,” the mom replied.
When Q-13 Fox switched from Wheel of Fortune to election results and announced that Ann Davison had a 17-point lead, a big cheer went up at Davison’s campaign party, happening at a decommissioned firehouse in the Northend. It was not a bloodthirsty cheer, but we repeat, a very *nice* cheer. Everyone here is very nice when they talk about increasing police enforcement to deal with annoying homeless people and drug users.
But some here worried that the lead might not be enough. Even though Davison, who everyone was careful to describe as a moderate even if she’s a “no broken windows” tough-on-crime Republican, has a very comfortable lead, campaign staff were remarkably guarded. Perhaps they remember that previous leads by middle-of-the-road candidates facing left-wing radicals (remember Egan Orion v. Kshama Sawant) have been undone by last-minute drop box votes from progressives and young people who are too busy drinking White Claw and watching TikTok to bother voting early. Still, Egan initially led Kshama 54 to 46, which is 8 points, not 17 points. 8 and 17 are pretty different numbers.
Campaign manager Marina Udodik admitted they would only declare victory if tonight’s lead was in the 40-point range. A campaign consultant tried to explain to the SECB just how many late-breaking votes Nicole Thomas-Kennedy would have to receive to introduce her plan of evil heroin-laced anarchy upon Seattle—but we are mostly English majors and we’d started in on a whisky and soda to ease the pain of the evening, so we will offer no prognostications.
Ann Davison came out to speak to the crowd about hope and some other stuff but we were too busy chatting with the very cute and well-spoken bartender to get much of it down. Bringing back the good old Seattle or something like that. The bartender had done his research, and did we mention he was cute? In front of a campaign supporter who was relieved that she might not have to sell her home and move to Kirkland to avoid sidewalks paved with syringes, the bartender quoted Gerald Hankerson, the Pacific Northwest director of the NAACP, about his support for Davison and making moderate incremental changes that bring greater change. The SECB was tipsy and suitably impressed.
The SECB reluctantly turned their attention away from the cute barman to weatherman and climate change skeptic Cliff Mass, who was also in the bar and could be cornered and asked some questions, which he agreed to respond to on the record.
Did he support and volunteer for Davison? “Oh God yes,” Mass said, his mask drooping below his nose.
“The city is going in the wrong direction,” Mass said, “especially in terms of public safety. Definitely when it comes to homelessness, we’ve allowed it to fester.”
Feeling a bit queasy (was it the whisky and soda or the disease metaphor?) the SECB asked Mass if he thought Davison’s plan to enforce more misdemeanor laws was the way to improve things. “I bike to work every day,” the weatherman who *is skeptical of anthropogenic climate change* said, “and those people should not be allowed on the streets. You know, we had barracks in World War II…”
At this point the SECB, feeling a bit nauseous, was wondering if it could run away with its whisky and soda and chat up the bartender but instead, like that cranky uncle at Thanksgiving you can’t escape, Mass continued to rail against defunding police: “It’s absolutely silly,” he said, and as he talked of people stealing stuff from 7-11 a sense of vertigo seemed to fill the room.
Later the bartender looked at the SECB as if to wonder: Was that guy for real?
And then Davison came out again to say how lovely and nice and “so grassroots” her whole campaign calling for arresting more people is. “I’m just a mom,” she said.
Campaign manager Udodik definitely wasn’t claiming victory, concerned that the 17-point-lead for the mom who’s definitely not a Republican and oh so very nice might not be enough to win in late returns.
We finished our whisky and soda and wondered what the next three days of returns would bring. And that lovely bartender…
ANOTHER QUICK TAKE POST-BALLOT DROP: THE PORT IS INTERESTING! FOR ONCE!Though Seattle’s progressive majority on the city council might weaken a little, it’s looking very much like it will gain a progressive majority on the port. Ryan Calkins is way out ahead of burgeoning perennial candidate Norman Sigler, 73 to 26. Incumbent port commissioner Stephanie Bowman only leads first-time candidate Hamdi Mohamed 51 to 49. Meanwhile, incumbent port commissioner Peter Steinbrueck only leads Toshiko Hasegawa 50 to 49.5.
In other good news, it seems like Kathy Lambert’s 19-year reign over Redmond on the King County Council has come to a close. She’s down 10.5 to Democrat Sarah Perry. All these seats are nonpartisan, but we all fucking know. The reason for Perry’s lead? Could be Perry’s strong organizational skills mixed with a little bit of Lambert’s racist mailer mixed with a lot a bit of the district’s changing demographics.
In the county as a whole, three-term county executive Dow Constantine currently leads state Senator Joe Nguyen 57 to 42. Nguyen will likely head back to the Legislature, but the SECB is kinda surprised he’s only down 15 points.
Suddenly: screaming. The loudest shit. Bruce Harrell's supporters huddled around the results, which the campaign projected on a wall. One supporter said “IT'S OVER”—presumably for González. The crowd started chanting “BRUCE, BRUCE, BRUCE."
Harrell almost bumped into the SECB for a third time this evening as he took to the stage, riding very high.
"I had to ask everyone, I can take off my mask, right?” he joked, then proceeded to give a victory speech. Lots of talk about unity, per usual.
Harrell thanked his wife first. The crowd roared. He called the campaign a family affair—which is interesting because nearly everyone the SECB talked to tonight was somehow related to him. He noted he has no idea why a certain four or five people in the room are here. The SECB assumed he was talking about them.
“We’re gonna put Seattle on fire with our love,” Harrell said, which was confusing, since Fox News said the progressives were the candidates setting Seattle on fire.
“A huge thank you to all of you,” began Lorena González, following the first ballot drop. With her campaign getting about 35% of the vote to Bruce’s 65%, it was time to lay out a gentle runway for disappointment, without actually conceding yet.
“The votes of so many voters who tend to vote at the very end have not been counted,” she said, to cheers from her supporters, “and that means we may not know until later in the week who the next mayor of Seattle will be.”
Inside, a group of supporters exchanged tight embraces with somber looks on their faces.
González’s speech mainly was one of gratitude for her supporters and a reminder of what motivated them in the first place: “This campaign has always been about finding a way … to create a city where every single one of us has a seat at the table. Tonight it is clear to me that we must all work harder to bring our city together in order to bring us forward.” Nice words, if not in any way remotely specific. Her attention gained a bit more focus as she pointed out that the next mayor — whoever it winds up being — will be sworn in just as an eviction moratorium expires, in the coldest months of the year.
There was also a bit of looking ahead to what comes next, with a train of thought that grew increasingly personal: “After this extraordinarily long and brutal campaign, we can take a moment to connect with our loved ones,” González said, “maybe even prepare a home cooked meal, maybe blow the dust off those books sitting on my nightstand for well over a year at this point.”
If these early results hold, at least we know what to expect from the next four years — because under Harrel’s continuation of the Durkan agenda, nothing is likely to improve.
ONE MORE QUICK TAKE POST-BALLOT DROP: IS THE SEATAC CITY COUNCIL GETTING FLIPPED?
As expected, Seattle School Board winners will almost surely include Vivian Song Maritz — who leads Laura Marie Rivera 68 to 32. Rivera had a slightly more conservative response than Maritz on a question related to the district ending its highly capable program in favor of setting ambitious goals for all students. Michelle Sarju and Brandon Hersey will win their spots handily, with Sarju winning 82% of the early vote and Hersey leading with 91%.
Some interesting results out of SeaTac: It’s looking like progressives have a shot at flipping the SeaTac City Council? The Working Families Party backed union organizer Jake Simpson, social worker Mohamed Egal, and Iris Guzmán against three ancient incumbents on the council. Simpson leads Stan Tombs 61 to 35; Egal leads Clyde (Fuzz) Hill 52 to 47, and Guzmán leads Pam Fernald 53 to 46. If those results hold, then SeaTac’s 5-2 conservative majority will be a 5-2 progressive majority. The council also would flip from majority white to majority POC, which would more accurately represent the demographics of the majority-minority town.
The hope for Kent’s first Black woman mayor and its youngest council member is looking dim. Incumbent Mayor Dana Ralph leads Dawn Bennett 71 to 29, and city council president Toni Troutner leads Cliff Cawthon 59 to 40. Not impossible for Cawthon to come back, but improbable.
In Bellevue, the moderate Democratic candidates trail the Republicans: ancient incumbent Conrad Lee is up on Dexter Borbe 56 to 44, and Jared Nieuwenhuis leads Ruth Lipscomb 58 to 42. We have no idea if the “progressive vote” in Bellevue exists, or if it votes late, so we'll keep an eye on this one.
Early on at the campaign party for city attorney candidate Ann Davison, the Wheel of Fortune was playing, and apparently this was Davison’s lucky night—the Republican who is at pains to convince voters she’s not one has shown early results, giving her a 17-point lead, 58 to 41 percent over Nicole Thomas-Kennedy.
The spread of roll-ups and fancy cheeses was pretty swank, and the SECB sampled an Almond Roca for the first time since 1994 and, with sugar in our molars, instantly regretted it. Supporters, in spite of the SECB calling Davison a bat-shit crazy Republican who’s interested in locking up all folks who break even the tiniest of misdemeanor laws, were all very nice, almost excessively nice.
Campaign manager Marina Udodik, originally from Ukraine, was very sweet as she talked of “getting to know people’s hearts.” She did not mention having police arrest a ton more people, but one middle-aged woman who volunteered for the campaign and declined to give her name was clearly freaked out by what she thought was a rise in crime in Seattle, and said she would sell her house and leave the city if Thomas-Kennedy won. We suppose she’s now planning on adding that new kitchen remodel.
Mike Vaska, who once ran for attorney general, lives in Issaquah, and works at a law firm in Seattle, says his younger employees tell him they’re afraid to walk down Third Avenue because of you know, homeless people and it not being the suburbs. The SECB felt a bit uneasy in this party we must admit, since all of these nice people who seem very intent on not describing themselves as Republicans are pretty thrilled to be defeating an opponent whom Fox News deemed an Antifa Antichrist just for wanting to dial back arresting poor and homeless folks.
We may need to hit the bar.
The SECB grimaced looking at the results from the Seattle City Council Position No. 9 race—Sara Nelson leads progressive Nikkita Oliver 60 to 39. A fucking wide spread. But when we reached Oliver by phone, they sounded—dare we say—chipper? "To be honest, knowing what the ballot totals were…I actually don't feel significantly worried," they told us. "As we move through future drops, we’ll see them go more and more left."
In our call, Oliver encouraged people to "remember how Seattle elections go," saying that they'll be in a much different position come Thursday and Friday. While we are more than a little skeptical that Oliver can obtain at least 61.5% of the ballot drops to come, we'll concede that maybe, based on the thousands of people reading our endorsements the HOUR BEFORE BALLOTS WERE DUE, we should be less skeptical. Oliver said their relational organizing and good ground game helped expand their base of voters, and they were pumped by the amount of people who came out to their GOTV event.
Regardless of whether they win or lose, Oliver said, they still see this election as a win. Back in 2017, abolition was decidedly not a theme of the race and now two candidates were running on an abolitionist platform. "That, to me, says we’ve grown our movement, politicized and galvanized more people," they said. "But it also shows us that we can expand the political imagination around what’s possible in our city and that’s exciting to me."
The first batch of results are live!!!! It's looking rough!!! Hold our beer, we're going in. BRB.
Tonight's initial results are up!
Find King County election results here: https://t.co/BAngtaZEFQ
This is the only results posting tonight - check back at 4 pm on weekdays through certification on Nov 23 for updates!
— King County Elections (@kcelections) November 3, 2021
After defending champ City Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda's crew rolled out of Taco City down in Columbia City, scary anarchist City Attorney candidate NTK and her crew rolled in to eat some tacos and watch the results rolled in. The SECB was busy doin other stuff and sort of forgot to check in with her team before it was too late, but we assume she enjoyed the tacos.
In Seattle and King County, later ballots lean leftward, so progressives can start out way behind on election night and end up winning. Or they can start out way behind and end up losing by a little bit. The citywide races we highlight below will likely be a better measure of the possibility of the swings this time around, but who fuckin knows, really.
Election Night Results
Jenny Durkan 61%
Cary Moon 39%
Final Election Results
Jenny Durkan 56%
Cary Moon: 44%
Swing: 9.5 points
2021 Mayor, August Primary
Election Night Results
Bruce Harrell 38%
Lorena González 29%
Final Election Results
Bruce Harrell 34%
Lorena González 32%
Swing: 7 points
2019 City Council, District 4
Election Night Results
Alex Pedersen 58%
Shaun Scott 42%
Final Election Results
Alex Pedersen 52%
Shaun Scott 48%
Swing: 12 points
2019 City Council, District 3
Election Night Results
Egan Orion 54%
Kshama Sawant 46%
Final Election Results
Kshama Sawant 52%
Egan Orion 48%
Swing: 10 points
When we first arrived at mayoral candidate Bruce Harrell's election night party, we were confused (as we so often are when it comes to Mr. Harrell) about where to go, and so we went to the cool, downstairs area. It was mostly empty, but it should still get some praise for its edgy bisexual lighting and open bar. The venue's upstairs (we are celebrating on multiple levels) was much more lively. Campaign staffers gave masks in Harrell’s iconic orange at the door — they were not about to get into another scandal over an unmasked event.
Setolicious was selling wontons, and the free refreshments were Beecher’s handmade cheese and individually packaged crackers. Not vegan. Sigh.
The bartenders — a neutral third party at the event — were split on supporting Harrell. One told the SECB that Harrell was one of two candidates they would like to win. Another shook both fists so excitedly in the air that we had to cheer along with him. He said that Harrell is the reason why we have sports which seems as good as any reason to shake your fists excitedly.
A self-described amateur political junkie and “three-dimensional relative” of Harrell’s told the SECB he has volunteered with all of Harrell's campaigns since 2007. He feels good going into this one, but he says, “like with all things sports and politics, it’s not over til it’s over.”
A sports analogy at a Harrell event. Who would have guessed?
“I’m feeling great,” said Mayoral Candidate Lorena González as she worked the crowd at Hill City Tap House. “Optimistic.”
The mood was optimistic as well. A tall stack of pizzas from South Town kept the bellies full and chatter upbeat. González said she started the day by seeing fifty canvassers off “to knock on doors and get the vote out. And then spent the rest of the day with my family. My daughter, my husband, my sister, and other relatives who are in town for this big night.”
When the race is complete, González added, she’s going to take a little time to recenter. “I’m gonna go back to the same bedroom I grew up in and spend the weekend at my mom’s,” she said.
A tight throng of political busybodies pressed tight at the podium while reporters swung their microphones impatiently, waiting for news to drop. It is a crowd that looks very much like the Seattle one sees walking down the street in many neighborhoods — you could count the suits and ties on one hand, but knitwear, jeans, and doubled-up jackets are in plentiful supply.
The mostly-outdoor event has a few tables and tents set up, but not enough to fully cover the patio area — as a result, the only dry place to sit and type is next to the pizzas, which has led to a Stranger reporter becoming a consultant regarding which toppings are in which box. The vegetarian and gluten-free options are on the bottom, just FYI.
Wearing a long black puffer and bright yellow sweater, Oliver seemed in good spirits as they popped around their final campaign event before tonight's ballot drop around 8:15 PM. They checked in with their family, team members, and gave interviews as needed. When we had a chance to catch up with them on their way to make sure the next performer made it to the stage, Oliver said they were "feeling good" about the election.
Oliver said they and their team were focusing on getting out the vote, and they were grateful that Black Action Coalition was around to lend their support. This event ends at 6 PM, and Oliver will keep up with the election results with family and friends in a private, low-key gathering. They expect to be down in votes tonight, but the campaign will "pull ahead over the next few days" as the city counts the ballots of progressive voters who voted later. Oliver said they hope voters will "vote on more than just one issue" and not let the conversation over public safety drown out other conversations around supporting workers and Black-owned small businesses.
If you're reading this and have NOT voted, we implore you to get your ass out there and vote NOW. What the hell are you waiting for?
In perhaps the best use of campaign organizing efforts we've seen yet, we discovered several barbers dutifully giving out free haircuts to Oliver supporters on the main floor of Washington Hall. On the upper level, Oliver's team had also organized a legal clinic. We decided to interrupt Ready Ron Beats—a local producer and MC with the Takeover Music Collective—for an interview as he gave a line up to Zion Thomas, a youth organizer with Oliver.
The SparkNotes: He's a regular volunteer barber, giving out free haircuts mostly with the Beyond Project here in Seattle. He met Oliver over a decade ago after he produced some music for them and said he'd be here "as long as they need me to be." When asked why he supports Oliver, he shared their conviction about diverting funds away from the police and jails and towards more community-based solutions. Ready Ron Beats is also passionate about using his skills as a barber for good, especially when it comes to the youth. "In the process of cutting [kids'] hair, I'm educating them on history they have no idea exists," he said. A worthy cause indeed.
After the SECB tried and failed to stick a media badge on our soaking wet jacket, we followed the sounds of a harmonica to the back of the parking lot where we found The Black Tones' Eva Walker going IN on a song we thought was called "Rivers of Georgia" but now cannot find on the internet. After her performance, Walker told the SECB that she's known Oliver "for years" after meeting them at Hollow Earth Radio and was more than happy to play solo (for the first time in a while, she said) at this final campaign event. Walker liked that "the root of [Oliver's] campaign is being for the people," she said. "A lot of people say that, but Nikkita is about that."
Shivering from the cold, the SECB made our way inside in desperate need of a piss and, possibly, a haircut.
Gooooood evening friends, frenemies, enemies, and henemies, and welcome to the Stranger Election Control Board's General Election Night 2021 "Complete Leftist Anarchy" Edition. At around 8:15 PM Seattle and other places that are not Seattle will see the first results in our highly anticipated off-year local elections! How highly anticipated, you ask?
Well, if your morning started off like the SECB's morning, then you spent 25 minutes reading The Stranger's cheat sheet over the phone to an octogenarian in West Seattle who called the office because she couldn't find the paper at the deli across the street and didn't know how to use the internet but did want to vote for the candidates we picked because she has always trusted our snotty and heavily researched opinions on the matter!!!!!!! That's the kind of dedication we're seeing out in the village today, and it's enough to bring one to two tears to our twitchy little screen-rotted eyeballs.
If you have yet to turn in your ballot, never fear! There's still time — but don't call us on the fucking phone. Fill out your ballot using our cheat sheet, and then sprint to the nearest drop box. Not registered or have other election-related questions? We answer them here. Read fast. Walk fast. Vote!!
The stakes are moderately to severely high this year, depending on the race. Though Trump isn't sitting at the top of the ticket at the moment, today Seattle's choice for City Attorney will determine whether or not Trump will have a direct line into Seattle's law department when he wins in 2024. Kinda fun, huh!?
Seattle will also choose between a corporate mayor and a labor mayor, citywide council members who want to solve the housing crisis and those who want to make it worse, forward-thinking port commissioners and big biz simps, and school board directors who want to close the opportunity gap and those who will try to find every excuse not to. Meanwhile, as a whole, King County will decide whether to give our Executive a fourth term, or whether to hand over the reins to a more progressive state Senator who likes to cuss.
King County Elections expects slightly higher-than-normal turnout countywide—they're thinking 46% this year, which is less than 2019's 49% but greater than 2017's 43%. Will the higher turnout boost progressives to victory? We won't know until Friday, because thus far without fail progressives always vote later in the week. Tonight's the night for the more conservative candidates: they'll sip champagne with cops and hope they're leading by at least double digits after the first ballot drop, and we'll be right there to record every sip, snack, and slight.
As always, your intrepid, damp, and immoderately stoned SECB has inadvisably hopped on our e-scooters and fanned to report on election night parties all over town. Keep your eyes on Slog for updates.