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City of Seattle Elections

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Find election results here. The first results will be posted at about 8 p.m. on Nov. 2, with daily afternoon updates until results are certified by Nov. 23. 

If you're here, you already are or aspire to be an informed voter. Below, you'll find articles that will help you get your bearings on why these upcoming elections are important.

This guide won't tell you who to vote for, but should help you make the choice for yourself. We're a nonprofit so we don't make political endorsements of any kind. What we do is publicly driven journalism. To create this guide, we asked our readers what they want to know before voting this year. Then we asked the candidates your questions. Those answers will make up the meat of this guide. The potatoes are tips and links that will help you do things like register to vote and turn in your ballot, as well as learn about Washington's unique systems.

Crosscut adapted the Citizens Agenda style of election reporting this year, inviting our readers to take an active role in the process by telling us what they want the candidates to discuss as they compete for their votes.

If you want to read all our election coverage, find it here

What's at stake

Seattle voters are about to choose their next mayor, two city council members and the city attorney — all citywide seats. It will be the first local election since the Black Lives Matter protests last summer and voters’ first referendum on policing in Seattle. Our September Crosscut/Elway Poll found homelessness is still voters’ top priority by a wide margin, as has been the case in Seattle for years now, while support for hiring more police officers remains solid.

Mayor

4 years

The job: The mayor is Seattle's chief executive. They oversee and control most city offices and departments and make policy and budget recommendations to the Seattle City Council, which is Seattle's legislative body. Incumbent Jenny Durkan declined to seek reelection.

Bruce Harrell

Bruce Harrell served on the Seattle City Council from 2007 through 2019, including as its president beginning in 2016. Harrell went to Garfield High School and University of Washington School of Law. Before being elected to office, he served as legal counsel at US West, which was acquired by Qwest and then later CenturyLink. Following the resignation of former Mayor Ed Murray, Harrell served as interim mayor for five days before declining to serve out the remainder of Murray’s term. Here's a story reporter David Kroman wrote when Harrell joined the race. 

M. Lorena González

M. Lorena González has been a member of the Seattle City Council since 2015 and is the council's president. The daughter of immigrants, González grew up in Eastern Washington where she worked picking cherries from a young age. She later earned her law degree from Seattle University. An attorney, she worked briefly in former Mayor Ed Murray’s office as his legal counsel before running for office. Prior to that, she worked in private practice on civil rights issues. Here’s a story reporter David Kroman wrote about the mayoral race. 

City Attorney

4 years

The job: The city attorney, the city's top government lawyer, manages a team of more than 100 attorneys, making this office one of the largest law offices in Seattle and the third largest public law office in the state. The criminal division prosecutes misdemeanors, gross misdemeanors and traffic infractions in Seattle Municipal Court. The civil division represents the city in lawsuits and advises city officials. Pete Holmes is the incumbent. Read reporter David Kroman's story about why this race matters. 

Ann Davison

Ann Davison is an attorney whose private practice focuses on sports, business, employment and “other general civil areas,” according to her campaign website. She worked in the front office of the Seattle SuperSonics from 1996 to 2001. In recent years, she has become a frequent candidate for office. She ran for Seattle City Council in 2019, losing to Councilmember Debora Juarez. In 2020, she ran unsuccessfully for lieutenant governor as a Republican.  Here’s a story reporter David Kroman wrote about the race. And here’s another story explaining more about the city attorney's office. 

Nicole S. Thomas-Kennedy

Nicole S. Thomas-Kennedy is a criminal defense attorney who, until recently, worked at the King County Department of Public Defense. She left that position to take on pro bono activist defense work and to volunteer with the National Lawyers Guild while still doing contract public defense. A graduate of Seattle University Law School, Thomas-Kennedy describes herself as an abolitionist. Here’s a story reporter David Kroman wrote about the race. And here’s another story explaining more about the city attorney's office. 

City Council Position No. 8

4 years

​​The job: Position 8 on the Seattle City Council is citywide, which means all Seattle voters can make a choice in this race. The city council is Seattle's legislative body. It creates the city budget and passes laws and regulations.  

Teresa Mosqueda

Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda is seeking her second term as a citywide representative on the Seattle City Council. Most of her opponents have raised no money, and Mosqueda is the only candidate to get any meaningful endorsements. In her first term on the city council, Mosqueda advocated taxes on large businesses and stronger worker protections. In 2020, she sponsored legislation that expanded sick leave coverage for families and frontline gig workers. She also led the passage of JumpStart Seattle, a progressive revenue plan for a tax on large companies like Amazon. The tax is expected to raise more than $200 million a year for housing, local business assistance and community development next year. 

Here’s a Crosscut story about the race.

Kenneth Wilson

Kenneth Wilson, a structural engineer from Wallingford with little political name recognition, broke through the crowd in the primary election and took home a surprising 16.2% of the vote. It was far from Mosqueda’s 59%, but still significant for a candidate who had only seven donors at the time. Wilson doesn’t have any political experience. He said he frequently hears from people who are worried about the direction of the city and appreciate his status as a nonpolitician. City council positions are nonpartisan, though Wilson’s policy ideas generally align with candidates on the more conservative side of the Seattle political spectrum.

Here’s a Crosscut story about the race.

City of Seattle, Council Position No. 9

4 years

The job: Position 9 on the Seattle City Council is citywide, which means all Seattle voters can make a choice in this race. The city council is Seattle's legislative body. It creates the city budget and passes laws and regulations. The incumbent, Lorena González, is running for mayor.

Sara Nelson

Sara Nelson is the co-founder of Fremont Brewing, which she and her husband founded in 2009. Before that, she served as a legislative aide to Richard Conlin, former member of the Seattle City Council. This is the second time Nelson has sought a seat on the council with the backing of the business community, losing in the primary in 2017. Here’s a story we published about the race.

Nikkita Oliver

Nikkita Oliver is an attorney and educator whose activism around criminal justice has made them a well-known figure around Seattle, especially in progressive circles. Oliver is the executive director of Creative Justice, a youth and "arts-based healing-engaged space for youth.” A leader in the protests to defund the police and halt the construction of a new youth jail, Oliver ran for mayor as a co-founding member of the Seattle People’s Party in 2017. They finished a close third place in that primary. Here’s a story we published about the race.

Get the latest in election news

In the weeks leading up to each election, this newsletter gives context on the races, candidates and more. 

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Who is involved in this round of election reporting at Crosscut?

News and politics editor Donna Gordon Blankinship and reporters David Kroman and Melissa Santos.

The questions we asked candidates came from you, the voters. 

When we debuted Crosscut’s Seattle and King County Voter Guide ahead of the August primary, we wanted local voters at the heart of it. That’s why we asked you for your questions about housing and homelessness, policing, public safety, taxes and urban planning, which we sent directly to the candidates who are seeking your vote.

After Seattle and King County voters narrowed the choices, Crosscut’s audience engagement team collected a second round of reader questions for candidates running for Seattle mayor, city council and city attorney. More than 200 people sent in their suggestions and we picked the most popular questions and themes and passed them along to the candidates. Their answers are featured in the issues section of this voter guide.

While we can’t tell you who to vote for, we want to get you the information you need to decide which candidate best aligns with your values.