After the Primary Election, 14 candidates remain for seven Seattle City Council contests. The race has shaped up to be a showdown between Seattle Times-endorsed candidates and those backed by The Stranger. Final Primary results didn’t include any reversals from the early Seattle City Council returns we reported on election night. Progressive candidates did gain vote share in late results, as is typical, which meant widening leads for the progressive candidates (or a shrinking gap in Shaun Scott’s case).
Final Primary Results
District 1: Lisa Herbold (incumbent) 50.6%, Phil Tavel 32.3%
District 2: Tammy Morales 50.1%, Mark Solomon 23.2%
District 3: Kshama Sawant (incumbent) 36.7%, Egan Orion 21.5%
District 4: Alex Pedersen 40.4%, Shaun Scott 23.3%
District 5: Debora Juarez (incumbent) 45.1%, Ann Davison Sattler 26.7%
District 6: Dan Strauss 34.2%, Heidi Wills 21.3%
District 7: Andrew Lewis 31.7%, Jim Pugel 24.8%
Save for District 4, The Stranger-endorsed candidate came in first, while those anointed by The Seattle Times came in second. Pedersen’s 17-point advantage appears formidable, but District 4 voters may flock to Scott as they realize how out of step with the district Pedersen is on a number of issues, such as transit. I recently reviewed his opposition to Sound Transit 3, the Move Seattle transportation levy, and the Bike Master Plan. A younger electorate (with University of Washington back in session) should also be a boost to Scott. Like The Stranger, The Urbanist Election Board endorsed Scott, Morales, and Sawant in the Primary.
Shifting political coalitions
Daniel Beekman, a political reporter for The Seattle Times, has argued Seattle political power is derived from four main factions–business, labor, social justice activists, and neighborhood groups–and a candidate typically needs at least two to win. It’s a simplification, but it’s useful in understanding what’s going on this election.
“Neighborhood groups” is a bit vague and euphemistic; homevoters is a bit more precise given the desire to maintain single-family zoning, parking requirements, and “neighborhood character” that seems to be a major motivation for this constituency. Adapting Beekman’s framework, the four factions (and the biggest endorsements typically indicating this constituency’s support) are:
- Business (Seattle Chamber endorsement)
- Labor (MLK Labor Council endorsement)
- Social justice advocates (The Stranger endorsement)
- Homevoters (Seattle Times endorsement)
Business and labor leaders forged an alliance that swept Ed Murray into power and ousted Mike McGinn in 2013, and Mayor Jenny Durkan continued to rely on that alliance to ride into power in 2017. Like Murray, Mayor Durkan also dominated single-family neighborhoods, showing homevoters were on her side. In both races, some unions peeled off to support the more progressive candidate, but splitting the labor vote was key to centrist victories.