72 people applied for the Seattle City Council’s vacant seat

The Council has until Jan. 23 to fill the opening left by Teresa Mosqueda. The chosen member will serve until voters elect a replacement in November.

the exterior of seattle city hall with a skyscraper in the background and a blue sky above

Seattle City Hall. (Paul Christian Gordon for Crosscut)

On Thursday, the Seattle City Council released the names of the 72 qualified applicants vying to be appointed to the seat left open by former citywide Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda’s election to the King County Council.

The new appointee will serve until late November. Voters will choose a slightly longer-term replacement during a November special election to serve the remainder of Mosqueda’s term through the end of 2025. Nothing bars the appointee from running for the elected position.

The minimum qualifications laid out by the City Charter are basic: Applicants must be a citizen of the United States, able to read and write the English language, be a qualified elector of the state of Washington and have registered to vote in the City of Seattle at least 120 days prior to filing the declaration of candidacy.

The huge pool of applicants cover a range of experiences and backgrounds, including nonprofit leaders, tech professionals, lawyers, a union laborer, activists, civil servants, politicians and people who’ve previously run for local office.

That latter category includes Seattle Public Schools board member Vivian Song, who was elected in 2021, and retired King County Superior Court Judge Ronald Kessler. Kate Martin, a landscape architect and multiple-time Seattle City Council and mayoral candidate, applied for consideration. Mark Solomon, a career Seattle Police Department crime-prevention coordinator who lost to Councilmember Tammy Morales in the 2019 general election, is a candidate.  

The list also includes 2023 City Council primary candidates Shobhit Agarwal, Preston Anderson, Ry Armstrong, Shane Macomber and Phillip Tavel, as well as Tanya Woo, who lost to Morales in last November’s election. In recent weeks, a small campaign has popped up around Woo’s appointment to the seat, with community members testifying at City Hall and writing op-eds in support.

Filling a council vacancy isn’t new ground for Seattle — it has happened three times since 2015. But the enormous interest from applicants seems to be, at least in recent history. When Abel Pacheco, Jr., was selected to finish Rob Johnson’s term in 2019, he was one of 15 applicants. In 2017, when Kirsten Harris-Talley was appointed to fill Tim Burgess’s seat, she was one of 16 candidates.

It is now on the Council to review applications, meet with candidates, host a public forum in partnership with a community organization and arrange special City Council meetings to hear public feedback and interview the candidates directly.

The Council will meet Jan. 12 at 2 p.m. to discuss applications, solicit public feedback and select finalists from among the candidates.

The community forum will take place Jan. 17 or 18. The location has not been announced. The Council will likely hold a second meeting on Jan. 22 to interview candidates and hear public comment.

Councilmembers will vote to appoint someone on Jan. 23. If they fail to select an applicant on the 23rd, councilmembers are required by the City Charter to meet every business day to work on finding a replacement until they vote one into office. 

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