Somebody has to be the Mayor of Seattle. We don’t actually know that to be true, but it sounds right. If there was no mayor, would anyone notice? It reminds us of the meme from last year’s presidential race: “What if nobody was president and we all promised real hard to just be cool?”
With incumbent Mayor Ed Murray declining to run for a second term for some reason, even more candidates are joining an already crowded race. Which one is closest to Bernie Sanders? Who has Kshama Sawant endorsed? What candidate hates the Confederate flag the most? Find out below!
Jenny Durkan – The former Obama-appointed U.S. Attorney, oft-mentioned as a candidate in recent years, is finally putting her name on a ballot. She starts with a slew of endorsements, including former Gov. Christine Gregoire, former King County Executive Ron Sims, and current City Councilmember Sally Bagshaw. Durkan has raised $60,000 for her campaign in a few short days.
As U.S. Attorney, Durkan negotiated the federal oversight of the Seattle P.D., and her announcement speech touched on gun violence. She’s also known for cracking down on marijuana dispensaries in her federal job. Unusually among the first-tier candidates, Durkan has said pursuing a city income tax is futile. She comes from a prominent political family – her father, Martin Durkan, was a Democratic state senator, gubernatorial contender, and heavyweight Olympia lobbyist.
Jessyn Farrell – A state representative first elected in 2012, Farrell represents northeast Seattle. Formerly the head of the Transportation Choices Coalition, she is a “pro-transit urbanist” who advocates greater housing density. Farrell also touts her education advocacy in Olympia. “Every candidate is going to talk about being progressive,” she told The Stranger. “I’m the progressive candidate who actually has a track record.” She has a lot to prove to be viewed as a factor, especially now with Durkan in the race.
Bob Hasegawa – The 11th District state senator is one of Olympia’s nice guys – he’s also basically a Chavista. A legislator since his first win in 2004, Hasegawa is a former truck driver who was active in the Teamsters union. Publicola describes his platform as “anti-corporate,” and that’s an understatement. Hasegawa campaigned for Bernie Sanders last year and calls for founding a city-owned bank, among many other lefty ideas. As legislators, Hasegawa and Jessyn Farrell (see above) will be barred from raising money until the Legislature adjourns.
Mike McGinn – The former one-term mayor, ousted by Murray four years ago, is attempting a political comeback. The former Sierra Club leader’s tenure as mayor was marked by frequent clashes with the City Council. That is looking better in retrospect – his successor got along with the council a little too well. McGinn was right that the viaduct replacement tunnel would come with many complications. But with Murray out of the race and Bertha finished digging, what purpose does McGinn’s candidacy now serve?
Casey Carlisle – A Libertarian, Carlisle wonders why Seattle political leaders seem determined to follow in the “progressive” footsteps of New York, D.C., and San Francisco. “Compared to Seattle, they have greater rates of homelessness, higher costs of living, and more traffic congestion,” he writes. He opposes new taxes and rent control, wants greater autonomy for neighborhoods, and calls for scrapping the city’s approach to homelessness.
Michael Harris – A TV producer and environmental conservationist, Harris opposes new taxes, including a city income tax, but says he wouldn’t seek to lower taxes either. Q13 says he wants to reclaim the “radical center” and “convert the City of Seattle to 100% renewable energy by the year 2035.” Harris says he would be more directly involved on solving homelessness as mayor and supports renovating Key Arena to attract an NBA team.
Harley Lever – A “Safe Seattle” activist, Lever opposes heroin injection sites in Seattle. He has criticized Murray’s fiscal management, including expanding the Mayor’s Office, and notes the dearth of detox and rehab beds to treat addicts.
Cary Moon – Like McGinn, Moon gained attention for opposing the SR99 tunnel. She founded the People’s Waterfront Coalition in 2004, advocating for a business- and parks-focused waterfront without a high-traffic roadway. Another “urbanist” candidate, Moon is focusing on affordable housing and transit.
Nikkita Oliver – A 31-year-old social justice activist – Publicola describes her as an “attorney, Black Lives Matter activist, and spoken word poet” – Oliver was the leading fundraiser before Jenny Durkan entered the race. She is endorsed by Kshama Sawant, the Socialist city councilmember. Oliver is running under the Seattle People’s Party banner. Reminiscent of Sawant’s calls for freeway blocking on May Day, the party notes that “we understand political participation to be only a portion of many necessary strategic steps towards justice for all.”
Prachant Bradwell – Bradwell filed campaign paperwork with the PDC last month to run for mayor, but has yet to file for office this week. Anyway, a Prachant Bradwell in Seattle has a LinkedIn page. Is it the same person? No idea.
David Ishii – A previous candidate for public office, Ishii might be a poet – tough to say. There has been speculation in the past that he could be a satirist, so maybe his candidacy is part of some performance piece that will be revealed later.
Mary Juanita Martin – The Socialist Workers Party candidate, Martin ran for mayor in 2009 and 2013 as well, garnering few votes.
Jason Roberts – The business owner is running on a fiscal responsibility platform and calls for a sharper focus on homelessness. He writes on his website, “I feel that issues like homelessness and drug addiction are paid lip service while others argue about making more bike lanes.”
Alex Tsimerman – Most people have a hobby or two, and Tsimerman’s is attending city council and county council meetings to rant during public comment time. He additionally enjoys standing supportively behind other people during their rants. Tsimerman wants to “clean our City Government from dirty garbage rats who drink from Fat Cat toilets.”
Keith Whiteman – A former rock drummer, Whiteman opposes homeless camp sweeps, wants a 1-3% tax on salaries above $82,000 from employers of 1,000 or more, and really doesn’t like the Confederate flag. His website is filled with statements like, “If life is in a state of constant change, than I am willing to only promise you one thing, the future.” That is to be expected from a candidate who embraces saying “I don’t know.”