1. UPDATE: On Friday afternoon, District 2 incumbent Tammy Morales pulled ahead of challenger Tanya Woo and now has 50.15 percent of the vote, a gap of 317 points. Alex Hudson conceded to Joy Hollingsworth in District 3, and District 7 incumbent Andrew Lewis conceded to Bob Kettle.
Dan Strauss (District 6, Northwest Seattle) officially pulled ahead of challenger Pete Hanning after King County Elections posted its latest set of results on Thursday, while the other two incumbents seeking reelection—Tammy Morales (District 2, Southeast Seattle) and Andrew Lewis (District 7, downtown and Queen Anne) began closing the gap on their opponents, Tanya Woo and Bob Kettle.
As is typical in local elections, progressive voters who were losing (or barely winning) on election night pulled ahead significantly in this first large batch of later results, though generally not enough to come back from election-night trouncings.
With another 47,000 votes counted, Strauss now leads Hanning 50-49, while Woo is a little more than three points ahead of Morales, at 51.5-48.2. That’s a big gain for Morales since election night, when Woo was leading by almost nine points, making this a competitive race.
Lewis, meanwhile, is now 7 points behind conservative challenger Kettle, at 46.2 to his opponent’s 53.4—a seven-point gap that’s unlikely to close unless the remaining ballots are wildly lopsided compared to those counted so far.
In the open seat for District 4 (Northeast Seattle), Ron Davis is now 6 points behind Maritza Rivera, with 46.7 percent of the vote to Rivera’s 52.9. In the other races in which no candidate has conceded (Districts 1 and 3—Rob Saka v. Maren Costa and Joy Hollingsworth v. Alex Hudson), the more progressive candidates remain double digits behind their centrist opponents.
In short, the new council will most likely consist of seven moderates (Sara Nelson plus six new members, one appointed by the council when Teresa Mosqueda leaves to join the County Council), plus Strauss and, potentially, Morales—a major shift from its current, more progressive makeup, and a sign that voters were in the market for candidates who promised harsher policies toward drug users, unsheltered people, and people committing low-level crimes.
2. Council budget committee chair Teresa Mosqueda, the presumptive winner of the King County Council seat being vacated by Joe McDermott, has come under pressure from left-leaning activists to resign now, before the council loses as many as seven progressive members, so that the council can appoint a progressive to serve until the next election. Under the city charter, the council has 20 days to replace a council member who resigns after their final day in office.
It’s an absurd argument, for a number of reasons, not least among them that most of the current council already votes in lockstep with Mayor Bruce Harrell, who openly backed many of the moderates who are currently leading in the races for open seats. A scenario in which Mosqueda “pushes through” a left-leaning candidate like former Lorena González aide Brianna Thomas would require support from both Andrew Lewis and Dan Strauss, against a council president (Debora Juarez) who would almost certainly oppose the idea, assuming that all the other progressives on the council got on board.
More important than that hypothetical, however, is the fact that Mosqueda’s budget committee will still be meeting to hammer out revenue options for future budget years until December, when the council is scheduled to vote on new taxes that could include expansion of the JumpStart payroll tax, which is earmarked primarily for affordable housing, and a local capital gains tax. “We have unfinished business in the Budget Committee that we won’t even get the chance to start voting on” until December, Mosqueda noted.
Neither Mosqueda nor her staff are independently wealthy, and living without a paycheck for six to eight weeks could represent a significant hardship, as it would for most people.
Whoever the council appoints next year will serve until the end of next year; if they run for the seat in 2024 and win, they will serve until Mosqueda’s original term ends in 2025, and will have to run again then.
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