Durkan Triumphs in Seattle Mayoral Race

by Emerald Staff

With 105,587 ballots counted, and only a few thousand ballots currently outstanding according to King County Elections, it is all but guaranteed that Jenny Durkan will become Seattle’s 56th mayor, and the first woman to hold the position in more than 80 years.

As of election night Tuesday, Durkan hovered around 61 percent of the vote, to her opponent, Cary Moon’s 39 percent. While late ballots have yet to be counted, the gap of 22,000 assures Durkan’s victory. Durkan is expected to be sworn in on November 29, a day after King County Elections certifies election results.

In an area of the city where most residents voted for someone other than either Durkan or Moon during the primary, the mood ranged from excitement to bitter disappointment.

“With her acceptance speech, Jenny Durkan showed that she heard the various communities of Seattle. She understands that Seattle will fiercely defend our core values against Trumpism while continuing to grow our city. She also heard the need to find better solutions for the underprivileged and underrepresented in Seattle. It’s now up to us voters to hold her responsible for those dual missions.” said Katrina Brede, a Columbia City resident.

Julie Pham, a Durkan supporter, was also thrilled by the result.

“The Seattle of today is so different from the Seattle I grew up in. Now, more than ever, we need a coalition-builder who has the vision and will to make hard decisions when the stakes are high that will ultimately benefit us all. I am excited that the voters recognized Jenny Durkan as that leader,” said Pham, who works on tech access for South Seattle residents.

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Mayor-elect Jenny Durkan celebrates with supporters at her election night party. [Photo: Susan Fried]
Joy was absent in other South Seattleites, however, many of whom originally supported third place mayoral primary finisher Nikkita Oliver.

“To be honest I’m still having PTSD from the last election. This whole election season has left me feeling uninspired. I am disappointed that Jenny Durkan will be our next mayor, but I also wasn’t inspired or excited about Cary Moon. Pretty much after Nikkita didn’t make it through the primary I had the same revelation about Seattle that I did about America. In short white people don’t give a shit,” said South End based poet and educator Reagan Jackson.

Jackson said she hopes Tuesday’s election will motivate others in the mold of Oliver to consider running for office in the near term.

Santa Filda Anigo, shared Jackson’s disappointment, but found a few silver linings to the night.

I am a bit upset about the results for Seattle races for mayor and city council but am excited by the other people chosen all around the US from refugees to transgender individuals and socialists. It has been a good night, enough to begin restoring faith in the American people,” she said.

Others, expecting the outcome, turned toward the immediate future.

“I hope [Durkan] remembers she has a lot of people who voted for her in the South End. I hope she actually listens to what we have to say,” said Kia Jones, who patronized Rainier Beach watering hole Jude’s Old Town to catch the election results.

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Durkan supporters celebrate their candidate victory Tuesday night. [Photo: Susan Fried]
South End voters were no less invested in the two city council races on the night.

Jon Grant, a resident of Hillman City, met with supporters at a reception at the Hillman City Collaboratory in his run for Seattle City Council Position 8. As of 9:35pm, he was trailing challenger Teresa Mosqueda 61.5 percent to 38.5 percent.

A former director of the Tenants Union, Grant ran as a democratic socialist, with the major focus  of his campaign on affordable housing. Through his run, Grant faced questions over the nature of his departure from the Tenants Union.

Grant placed special emphasis on building grassroots political support and fostered a reputation for showing up for activist events in Seattle, the recent occupation of city hall in protest of homeless sweeps being the most recent example. His opponent and future city councilmember Teresa Mosqueda has a leadership background in labor.

Addressing the gathered crowd, Grant praised the efforts of his campaign staff and said, “This is a campaign that showed the city how to make the democracy voucher program work.” He reiterated his focus on housing justice and boasted his campaign had forced Mosqueda to shift to the left on embracing progressive taxation and refusing additional police spending.

He drew attention to the Housing for All Campaign as something his supporters should look to in the future for a chance to make a difference. Citing numerous supporters wearing red flannel in the audience, Grant said, “through this campaign we’ve established that the Democratic Socialists of America is a powerful institution.”

Grant concluded his remarks by saying, “I feel just pure love for all of you. We did so much and we really moved this city in a way that hasn’t been seen in a long time. So thank you for everything, and I look forward to tomorrow.”

On the cusp of victory at a joint election night party with City Councilmember Lorena Gonzalez and school board candidate Zachary DeWolf, Mosqueda told supporters, “This elections shows that when we work together, commit to protecting the rights of our community and workers, when we unite instead of divide our progressive community – we win.”

Teresa Mosqueda addresses supporters on election night. [Photo: Naomi Ishisaka]
Incumbent Seattle City Councilmember Gonzalez was also victorious on the night, defeating challenger Pat Murakami, taking 68 percent to  Murakami’s 32 percent. In another notable race sitting City Attorney, and Seward Park resident, Pete Holmes easily defeated challenger Scott Lyndsey 73 percent to 27 percent.  

Seattle Councilmember Lorena Gonzalez (left) converses with 37th District State Senator Rebecca Saldana on election night. [Photo: Naomi Ishisaka]
Turning to Seattle School Board, Betty Patu, won re-election against Chelsea Byers for the District 7 (South Seattle) Director.

After her victory, Patu told the Emerald that she was, “overwhelmed with gratitude by the support and tremendous vote of confidence from my community. It is a honor and privilege to serve our students, parents, families and staff in the Seattle Public Schools and I take on this responsibility with great humility and passion. I am committed to our children and to ensuring that they are receiving an equitable education.”

Zachary Dewolf beat Omar Vasquez for the School District’s District 5 Director position. Eden Mack handily won the District 4 Director’s seat with 85 percent of the vote.

Seattle School Board candidate Zachary Dewolf (right) is overcome with emotion on election night after his victory. His husband Derek (left) looks on. [Photo: Naomi Ishisaka]
The Port Commissioners race saw Stephanie Bowman and former Seattle Councilmember Peter Steinbrueck emerge victorious against their opponents. John Creighton currently leads challenger Ryan Calkins by less than 3 percentage points for the remaining commissioner position.

In suspense free votes, both King County Executive Dow Constantine and 37th District State Senator Rebecca Saldana won re-election. Saldana, who represents a large swath of South Seattle and Skyway, ran unopposed. Gary Schultz, also running unopposed, won election as the Skyway Water and Sewer District Commissioner Position 1.

King County Fire Protection District 20 Proposition 1, a measure imposing a property tax to finance the maintenance and operations of local fire stations, passed with 69 percent of the vote.

Countywide, voter turnout out was less than 23 percent, a steep dip from the August primary where 40 percent of  King County voters turned out.

A full list of Tuesday’s election results, including for Port Commission can be found here.

Featured image by Susan Fried

3 thoughts on “Durkan Triumphs in Seattle Mayoral Race”

  1. Oh for crying out loud. I sure hope “poet and educator” Reagan Jackson isn’t educating any children with her attitude: “Pretty much after Nikkita didn’t make it through the primary I had the same revelation about Seattle that I did about America. In short white people don’t give a shit.” t

    Let’s review, shall we?

    1. Nikkita Oliver, who only voted in 7 out of more than 20 elections (including on issues she portends to be passionate about, such as housing, schools, law enforcement and so on), had suddenly decided to enter electoral politics and everyone is supposed to drop everything and bend the knee. Sorry Reagan, but Nikki is neither Daenerys Targaryan nor Colin Kaepernick. Sure, Nikki got 16% in the 21-person Primary; that means that 5 out of 6 people voted against her. In a City where 35.7% are non-white, that means that a whole lot of those non-white people didn’t vote for her either.

    2. Seattle voters, which include 64.3% of the population, just elected a whole bunch of minorities, including People of Color and LGBTQ.
    A. Jenny Durkan, the first lesbian mayor, and the first female mayor in 91 years.
    B. Latina Teresa Mosqueda defeated a white guy. Mosqueda is now the sixth woman on the City Council.
    C. Latina Lorena Gonzalez obliterated her competition, a white woman from the Southend.
    D. The voters of Seattle have ensured that there are now FIVE People of Color on the City Council – a majority, again, in a city that is 64.3% white.
    E. The voters of Seattle overwhelmingly re-elected Betty Patu, a South Pacific Islander who lives south of Rainier Beach, over a white woman to the Seattle School Board.
    F. The voters of Seattle overwhelmingly elected a gay Native American, Zachary DeWolf, to the Seattle School Board. DeWolf is both the first gay and the first Native American to serve on the school board.

    Facts matter. So quit your endless whining about Nikkita Oliver and celebrate the fact that those white voters you want to hate all over just made major history.

    1. Lol. I’m glad you’re showing off how much you love “minorities” by ordering a black woman around. There’s a difference between candidates who actually stand for POC/equity issues and those who simply weopanize identity to push forward the same old crap. With your logic we should all be celebrating that Ben Carson and Nikki Haley have high positions in the Trump Administration because they’re black and Sikh. Give me a break. I wish this site didn’t allow anonymous post. You’re probably Durkan’s campaign manager.

    2. Dear Anonymous Troll. I usually wouldn’t bother, but I have an extra few minutes so okay here we go. First of all it is my first amendment right to have whatever kind of attitude I want, so miss me with the tone policing. I have every right to express my disappointment. I am also sick and tired of white people thinking they know more than me. I am a journalist. I met the majority of the candidates in person. I’ve had more access to the facts than most, so don’t insult me with the presumption that I don’t know my facts. Which you might learn if you actually asked a question instead of making a huge assumption based on my very brief comments.

      Let’s talk about some facts. I didn’t vote for Nikkita because she is a woman of color. I voted for Nikkita because she is a lawyer, activist, community organizer and in general someone I have seen give a shit about this city. She is literally one of the best people this city can claim as a citizen and she was completely marginalized by mainstream media which is why you probably don’t have your facts straight about who she is or how much she has already sacrificed toward the work of building Seattle’s youth into strong leaders.

      As for Jenny Durkan. Let’s talk about a few facts you may or may not know. Comcast and CenturyLink spent more than $50,000 on behalf of Durkan’s PAC and a former Murray Staffer filed an SEEC complaint about a loophole in our campaign finance laws that allows Durkan’s campaign consultant to also be Comcast’s paid lobbyist. So if we had any hope of finally getting Municipal Broadband that is gone.

      Also while Durkan claims she will raise taxes to support education she has yet to put together a plan for making sure schools that have been Neglected like Rainier Beach actually get what they need for renovations. Not to mention the fact that I watched her silence multiple women of color and refer to Nikkita as colored like it’s 1955 and we’re still drinking from segregated fountains. Facts do matter. Get yours straight before you come at me. I’ll stick to only this portion of your comments because as you might have noticed I made no comments on any other race.