SEATTLE — Seattle‘s downtown business community celebrated Wednesday after the moderate candidates it backed took commanding leads in the races for mayor, city attorney and a key council race over liberals who had called to defund the police.
” This election was a choice. Do you want more dysfunctional performative behavior or candidates who will unify people and deliver real results?” Jon Scholes, president, Downtown Seattle Association, said.
Tuesday’s election was very different from the city contests of two years ago when business-backed candidates did poorly against liberals who claimed that Amazon and other large companies had too much power in the Northwest’s biggest city.
It could take days for final margins to be known due to Washington’s all-mail voting system. However, the strong showing of candidates who opposed the push to drastically alter policing encouraged people to feel a different approach to homelessness and public safety.
The results also echo setbacks for far left candidates elsewhere in the U.S. New York City, elected as mayor by a former officer of police who ran a campaign for public safety.
In Seattle , Bruce Harrell was a former City Council President who advocated adding police officers, including unarmed, to replace cutting funding. As additional ballots were counted on Wednesday, Harrell held a commanding lead over Lorena Gonzalez, current Council President.
The 63-year-old Harrell, who grew up in a redlined Seattle neighborhood, would be the city’s first Asian American and second Black mayor if the results hold.
In the wake of George Floyd’s death by Minneapolis police officers last year, Gonzalez supported calls for a reduction in the budget of the Seattle Police Department. This position has since been renegotiated.
First-term Mayor Jenny Durkan did not seek re-election.
Republican Ann Davison led police-and jail-abolitionist Nicole Thomas–Kennedy’s campaign for the position of city attorney. This is a position which involves prosecuting minor offenses, advising city leaders and representing the city when it comes to lawsuits.
While Seattle ‘ municipal elections are not officially nonpartisan, it was noteworthy that a candidate who identified herself as a Republican, even though she said she voted to elect Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton, and Barack Obama, could win in an overwhelmingly Democratic city.
In one race for City Council, Sara Nelson, a business-friendly beer owner, was leading Nikkita Olson, an activist and attorney who created an arts-based alternative jail for young people. The other race saw incumbent Teresa Mosqueda who is supported by organized labor win despite a surprisingly strong showing by Kenneth Wilson, a civil engineer.
Liberal candidate in Seattle tends to gain ground in later votes counts, but moderate slate still holds strong leads.
This year’s elections attracted more $10million in political contributions. It is a record for the area.
In her race for mayor, Gonzalez had promised to end sweeps that left homeless people stranded in areas where there was no alternative. She said economic recovery should be focused on the neighborhoods and not just the downtown area.
This offered voters a false choice. Scholes stated that it suggested voters were not compassionate if they believe parks should be available to all or if they feel unsafe by public drug use.
” The candidates who did well were those that met people where it was and didn’t shame others,” he stated.
Andrew Villeneuve founded the Northwest Progressive Institute, which is a liberal think-tank. He said that he didn’t expect the city would suddenly turn to the right. It should be a wake-up call for the more liberal council members that they must listen to all voters and not just activists.
” I think you’ll see the same dynamic as we have: a progressive council pushing for a mayor who’s a bit more business-friendly to do certain things they might push back against .”
Doug Trumm is the executive director of The Urbanist in Seattle ,. He called the results “a setback” for many causes, including climate change mitigation and increasing housing density.
“It is easy to talk about clearing out encampments,” said he. It’s difficult to get people into housing .”
Copyright, c) 2021 The Washington Times, LLC.