Incumbent Tammy Morales seeks re-election in Seattle District 2

With four of seven Seattle City Council district seats wide open, 16 candidates have already thrown their hat in the ring. And it's only February.

a woman in a red dress speaks with a man at a party

Seattle City Council District 2 candidate Tammy Morales speaks with a supporter at the end of her election-night party at the Royal Room on Nov. 5, 2019. Morales announced her re-election campaign this week. (Lindsey Wasson for Crosscut)

Seattle City Councilmember Tammy Morales launched her re-election campaign for District 2 on Wednesday with a press conference at El Centro de la Raza.

The first-term councilmember, elected in 2019 to represent the Chinatown-International District, Beacon Hill, Rainier Valley, SoDo and Georgetown, is the second of seven incumbents to announce their run for re-election. Four other district councilmembers have decided not to run again.

Morales has made safety, affordability and “neighborhood vibrancy” centerpieces of her bid. She wants her district to be safe from traffic violence, safe from gun violence and filled with affordable housing and good job opportunities for its communities.

“We have a lot of work to do to create the kind of safe, affordable, vibrant neighborhoods that everybody in the city deserves and really make sure that everybody has a chance to thrive and prosper,” Morales said in an interview with Crosscut. “Neighborhood economy will be the focus of the work that I want to do in a second term, if the people of the district honor me with another four years.”

Joining Morales in running for re-election is District 7 council member Andrew Lewis, who represents downtown, Queen Anne and Magnolia. He announced his bid in January. District 6 council member Dan Strauss, who represents northwest Seattle, has not yet announced his intentions or filed with the city elections commission.

The remaining district council members – Kshama Sawant, Debora Juarez, Alex Pedersen and Lisa Herbold – have all decided not to seek re-election this fall. Citywide council members Sara Nelson and Teresa Mosqueda are not up for re-election until 2025.

Homelessness, crime and policing are certain to be central issues in the 2023 election. Morales said her vision for “15-minute” neighborhoods where people have nearby access to affordable housing, jobs, recreation and amenities such as a library and community center will help move the needle on those hot-button issues.

Morales wants the city to invest in more permanent supportive housing, more mentoring and youth alternative programs and apprentice programs for young people. “These are all the things that can help community thrive and change the conditions that people find themselves in. … You can’t have a healthy, thriving neighborhood and people if the community is under-resourced.”

Morales has been criticized by some of her constituents in the Chinatown-International District who feel that their neighborhood has been disproportionately impacted by homelessness and crime without sufficient response from city leaders. Morales said she has been meeting monthly and toured the neighborhood several times with CID community and business leaders over the past two years to help craft a public safety plan.

But, she conceded, “I would say absolutely, all levels of government need to be more authentic in their engagement with the CID in particular.”

Morales said in general she wants to engage residents in District 2 to help shape the future of their neighborhoods. “It’s important that the people who are closest to the problem are closest to the solution.”

If re-elected, Morales wants to continue working on traffic safety with infrastructure improvements such as better sidewalks, crosswalks and bike lanes. In her first term, she sounded the alarm on pedestrian and bicyclist safety in her district. Since 2019, nearly half the city’s traffic injuries and fatalities have happened in District 2, many the result of pedestrians and bicyclists being hit by cars. She pointed to the recently announced federal $25.6 million safe streets grant that will pay for improvements in Rainier Valley, SoDo, downtown and the University District as a step in the right direction.

With four council members bowing out this year, the midterm races are already getting crowded. In addition to Lewis and Morales, 14 Seattleites have announced their candidacies.

District 1, which includes West Seattle, Delridge and South Park, has three candidates who hope to take Herbold’s open seat. 

  • Maren Costa is a climate activist and former tech employee who said she was fired from Amazon for organizing around climate issues and warehouse worker safety. 
  • Preston Anderson is a U.S. Army veteran and a clinical social worker with the VA Puget Sound Health Care System. 
  • AnnaLisa LaFayette is a West Seattle resident and former small business owner who said she has been volunteering around the city since 1999.

In District 2, Morales has two challengers so far.  

  • Dawn Lucas is a District 2 resident who’s frustrated with homelessness and crime in her neighborhood. 
  • Isaiah Willoughby has filed with the Seattle elections commission, but does not have a campaign website. Crosscut has reached out to Willoughby for comment.

District 3, which includes Capitol Hill, the Central District, Montlake and Madison Valley, already has five candidates vying for the seat Sawant is vacating.  

  • Ry Armstrong is a gender-nonconforming queer candidate from Capitol Hill who wants to focus on homelessness, climate and public safety. 
  • Andrew Ashiofu is co-chair of the Seattle LGBTQ+ Commission and has experienced homelessness. He previously ran for the state Legislature in the 37th District. 
  • Joy Hollingsworth is a lifelong Central District resident and co-owner of her family’s cannabis farm and company. Her grandmother is Seattle civil rights leader Dorothy Hollingsworth
  • Alex Hudson is a First Hill resident and executive director of the nonprofit Transportation Choices Coalition.
  • Asukaa Jaxx is a former mayoral candidate who has filed with the elections commission, but does not have a website or contact information. 

With Pedersen not seeking re-election in District 4, which includes the University District, Wallingford, and northeast Seattle, three candidates have entered the race so far. 

  • Ron Davis is a tech entrepreneur, consultant and urbanist who’s served on the boards of Seattle Subway, Futurewise and the Roosevelt Neighborhood Association. 
  • Matthew Mitnick is a graduate student in the University of Washington’s Evans School of Public Policy and a member of the Seattle Human Rights Commission. 
  • Kenneth Wilson is a civil engineer and small business owner. He ran against Councilmember Mosqueda in the 2021 general election. 

In District 5, two candidates have announced they’re running for the seat Council President Juarez is vacating. 

  • Peter Kithene Wilson is a housing supervisor with the homeless services nonprofit REACH, where he supervises caseworkers and works with landlords to find housing for chronically homeless people. 
  • Justin Simmons is a former small business owner who has also worked as a corporate fundraiser for United Way of King County and was president of the Metropolitan Democratic Club of Seattle, the Church Council of Greater Seattle and the University of Washington's Multicultural Alumni Partnership. He chaired former Seattle City Councilmember Peter Steinbrueck's 2013 mayoral campaign.

No candidates have filed to run in District 6, which is currently represented by Councilmember Strauss. Councilmember Lewis does not yet have any challengers in District 7. 


Please support independent local news for all.

We rely on donations from readers like you to sustain Crosscut's in-depth reporting on issues critical to the PNW.


About the Authors & Contributors