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Seattle council primary sees a handful of surprises as races take shape

The full Seattle City Council in 2018. (KIRO Radio file)

With most King County ballots now counted, we’re beginning to see a clearer picture as to how Seattle’s City Council elections will shape up come November. Dozens upon dozens of candidates campaigned, and once the final ballots are counted, just 14 will remain. So, what do the early returns mean for the future of the city’s governing legislative body?

Full election results from Seattle’s 2019 primary

First, there were few surprises in all three incumbents moving on the general election. What was surprising was to see District 3 incumbent Kshama Sawant pull in just 33 percent of the vote, holding a narrow lead over presumed November challenger, Egan Orion.

If Orion were to eventually unseat Sawant, it would make for one of the more shocking upsets of the race, given the massive money behind her campaign, and the popularity she’s traditionally had among her base.

Across the rest of the city, a movement to push the council in a more conservative direction saw mixed results. Groups like Moms for Seattle  — which has been pouring money and support behind more right-leaning candidates — saw candidates in a handful of districts garner success.

Among Moms for Seattle’s endorsements, District 1’s Phil Tavel, District 2’s Mark Solomon, District 4’s Alex Pedersen, and District 6’s Heidi Wills will all move on to the general should the current results hold.

Also likely to square off in the general election is District 5’s Ann Davison Sattler, who has seen support from Safe Seattle, as well The Seattle Times editorial board.

That said, two of the race’s more conservative candidates in District 2’s Ari Hoffman and District 3’s Pat Murakami both failed to advance.

Leaders in the primary race for Seattle City Council

Scoring a clean sweep in terms of endorsed candidates making it to the general election was the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, who had previously thrown its support behind Tavel, Solomon, Orion, Pedersen, Debora Juarez, Wills, and Jim Pugel.

“Seattle voters have a clear choice this fall between new leadership or more of the same. We now have the opportunity to elect people who can rebuild trust, get back to the basics of local government, and represent the districts they serve,” the organization’s CEO Marilyn Strickland said in a news release.

Progressive candidates saw their fair share of victories on primary night as well. Democratic Socialist Shaun Scott will square off against Pedersen in District 4, and progressives Tammy Morales, Dan Strauss, and Andrew Lewis all lead returns in Districts 2, 6, and 7 respectively.

Morales — who has clashed with Mayor Jenny Durkan over claims the candidate is a socialist — took a whopping 45 percent of votes in District 2 as of early Wednesday morning returns.

Regardless of who eventually wins, Seattle City Council will look much different once the November general election hits, with candidates spanning the political spectrum.

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