Licata says if he runs in 2015, it will be at-large

If the long-time councilmember does run for one of the two at-large seats, he would have to compete against two of his current colleagues.
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Nick Licata

If the long-time councilmember does run for one of the two at-large seats, he would have to compete against two of his current colleagues.

Longtime Seattle City Councilmember Nick Licata says that he will make a decision in January about whether to run for re-election in 2015.

Licata told Crosscut yesterday that if he does run, it will be for one of the two at-large seats available under the City Council's new election system, which is partially district-based. Council President Tim Burgess and Councilmember Sally Clark have already filed paperwork with the Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission to campaign for the at-large seats. This means that if Licata does decide to run, he would find himself in a competitive race against a colleague, which could get even more complicated if candidates from outside the Council emerge.

When asked Monday if he was planning to run in 2015, Licata, who has served on the Council since 1998, replied: "Right now, I'm keeping that option open." The question came up because Licata is one of just two incumbents who has not officially registered with the elections commission for a 2015 campaign. 

The other is Mike O’Brien, who is in just his second term. O'Brien was unavailable to comment about his election plans. But a staffer in his office said today that he remains "undecided."

Licata and O'Brien both reside in Council District 6, which includes north Seattle neighborhoods such as Green Lake, Fremont and Ballard. By running at-large, or not running at all, Licata would avoid a race against his district-mate. The two are generally regarded as among the most liberal members of the council.

Apart from Burgess, Clark, Licata and O'Brien, the other five council members have registered to campaign for four-year terms in their newly established districts. Charter Amendment 19, which passed in last year's city election, ushered in the new district election system for the Council. 

North Seattle's Council District 5, which includes Lake City and Northgate, is the only district in which no current council member lives. Halei Watkins, a Planned Parenthood organizer, has registered to run for that seat.

In his West Seattle district, Tom Rasmussen already faces two challengers, David Ishii and Charles R. Redmond III. And community activist Tammy Morales is planning to run against Bruce Harrell in District 2, which encompasses Southeast Seattle.

In 2015, all nine Council seats are up for election. The winners of seven district seats will be elected to four-year terms, and the two at-large councilmembers to two-year terms. Beginning in 2017, the two at-large members will also be elected to four-year terms, on the same election cycle as the mayor and the city attorney.

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