Despite a nine-point deficit on election night, Tammy Morales is gaining on her opponent in late returns and appears likely to win. (Courtesy of Tammy Morales campaign)

Strauss has taken a lead, Morales is down just 3 points, and Davis is down 6 points.

Late ballot returns lean progressive and this year is no different, with Seattle City Councilmember Tammy Morales gaining six points in Thursday’s ballot drop to narrow her nine-point election night deficit. Now down just three points, she appears likely to pass centrist challenger Tanya Woo and prevail if the trendline holds.

Meanwhile, Councilmember Dan Strauss has already closed his gap to take a lead after trailing by two points on election night. He’s now up nearly one point over opponent Pete Hanning, who is executive director of the Fremont Chamber of Commerce.

Andrew Lewis is the incumbent councilmember with the toughest row to hoe. He trailed by 12 points on election night and has trimmed the gap to seven points. He’ll need to pick up the pace if he hopes to pass conservative challenger Bob Kettle, a Queen Anne Community Council leader with a history of opposing housing development.

The four other races without an incumbent still favor the more conservative candidates; however in D4, Urbanist-endorsed Ron Davis has closed the gap to six points, after trailing by 11 points on election night. It is conceivable that he could catch opponent Maritza Rivera, who was tapped by then-Mayor Jenny Durkan to be deputy director of the Office of Arts and Culture.

Centrists Rob Saka (D1), Joy Hollingsworth (D3), and Cathy Moore (D5) continue to hold large, almost certainly insurmountable leads even if the margin has slipped a bit.

If Strauss holds on and Morales, Lewis, and Davis all manage to comeback, what looked like an election night drubbing for The Urbanist slate could turn into a narrow victory for the majority of candidates. However, Lewis and Davis could rightfully be considered underdogs at this point given ballot trends.

King County Elections reports 505,400 ballots have been returned across the county and 406,137 have been counted as of Thursday. That leaves another approximately 100,000 to count. County election officials counted about 282,000 ballots on election night, another 20,000 or so on Wednesday, and about 100,000 on Thursday.

With Morales seeing a six-point swing so far, she appears set to pass Woo. However, with Lewis and Davis seeing a five-point swing so far, they’ll need either a higher turnout than currently projected or to win a greater share of remaining ballots (or both) to close their respective gaps. A few ballots could still be in the mail, but the universe of ballots should be pretty clear by Monday. Due to Veteran’s Day, there will not be a ballot count on Friday. Correction: There is still a ballot drop Friday.

As noted in our Wednesday coverage, progressives and urbanists had a stronger night elsewhere in the region, with The Urbanist slate sweeping four King County Council races, two Bellevue City Council races, and several leaders endorsed by allied organizations doing well in places like Bothell, Kirkland, Redmond, and Bremerton. Tacoma’s tenant protections measure put forward by the local branch of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) is also set to pass.

And even the bad night in Seattle might be flipped if the late progressive rally continues. Will Morales complete the comeback as projected and will Davis and Lewis pick up the pace to join her? Stay tuned. It’s not over yet.

This article was updated at 2pm Friday to note that King County Elections will release a ballot drop on Friday even with Veteran’s Day observances.

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Doug Trumm is publisher of The Urbanist. An Urbanist writer since 2015, he dreams of pedestrianizing streets, blanketing the city in bus lanes, and unleashing a mass timber building spree to end the affordable housing shortage and avert our coming climate catastrophe. He graduated from the Evans School of Public Policy and Governance at the University of Washington in 2019. He lives in East Fremont and loves to explore the city on his bike.