Single family zones overwhelmingly swung for Mayor-Elect Bruce Harrell, Councilmember-Elect Sara Nelson, and Seattle City Attorney-Elect Ann Davison, as new precinct-level final results map verify.
Harrell’s 17-point victory over Council President Lorena González was the most resounding, while Davison (the first Republican elected in Seattle in decades) won by just four points over abolitionist Nicole Thomas-Kennedy. However, the pattern of denser multifamily areas supporting more left-leaning progressive candidates remains pretty consistent across the races.
For Harrell this meant nearly a clean sweep in some of Seattle wealthiest enclaves. Some Laurelhurst precincts gave Harrell more than 90% of their votes and most Magnolia precincts more than 80%. Meanwhile 98% of Broadmoor backed Harrell, and he cleared 94% in one View Ridge precinct (a ritzy area west of Magnuson Park that isn’t shy about announcing its view corridor status). Seward Park, where Bruce Harrell lives, gave 82% of their vote to him, while González barely eked out victories in the core of West Seattle Junction, where she lives, while losing the rest of the peninsula pretty handily.
Most of North Seattle was a blood bath, too. González had showed more strength there in the primary — when Harrell and González together took nearly two thirds of the vote. However, it appears the third of the electorate the pair didn’t win in the primary broke heavily toward Harrell rather than her, flipping some of those precincts.
González had precincts where she cleaned up, but not nearly to the degree that Harrell did in view corridor land. A good precinct for González topped out in the 60% range rather than the 80s and 90s that Bruce managed. And that proved decisive, especially when paired with a strong turnout advantage for older homeowners over younger tenants living in the denser core of Seattle.
Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda won by 19 points over civil engineer Kenneth Wilson, but she also saw her greatest strength in dense urban center as opposed to the single family view corridors that were a bastion of strength for the centrist slate. Most coastal precincts are still red in Mosqueda’s map, but the interior is so solidly blue that it more than canceled out that advantage. Dominating urban villages and carrying the interior appears to be the formula for progressive candidates to win, but only Mosqueda pulled it off facing a lackluster opponent. Harrell, Nelson, and Wilson all ran on preserving single family zoning, but that issue alone didn’t appear decisive given Wilson’s struggles. A recent poll found adding density in single family zones is popular among voters, although less so with seniors who are the most reliable voters.
The pattern of single family zones preferring more conservative candidates and apartment-heavy urban villages breaking for progressives has been persistent in recent elections. The difference in the 2021 election appears to be how strongly single family zones broke for the centrist slate and turned out in greater numbers than denser precincts. U District turnout in particular seemed abysmal. Precinct maps from 2019 shows progressive Council candidates ran up their totals in the dense core neighborhoods to a greater degree while not losing single family zones quite so badly.