Race for Seattle mayor heats up as trio of candidates jump out to early fundraising lead
Despite it still being early on in the election cycle, three candidates for Seattle mayor have already jumped out to a fundraising lead as Democracy Vouchers have flooded in.
Seattle city officials report that in just the first month of Democracy Vouchers being sent out in 2021, over 5,000 residents sent in 19,400 vouchers to their chosen candidates. Each eligible resident in Seattle gets $100 worth of vouchers, divided into four individual $25 segments. Voters can choose to assign any number of their four vouchers to eligible candidates by filling them out and mailing them back to the SEEC. Each person’s four vouchers can be sent in together or in pieces throughout the year.
Candidates are also able to receive individual contributions, capped at $550 per donor for mayoral candidates, and $300 per donor for council and city attorney races.
Leading the way in individual contributions as of early this week is homelessness advocate Colleen Echohawk, who has reported taking in over $64,700. The latest Democracy Voucher data from the city indicates that she’s also received over 6,000 Democracy Vouchers.
Trailing behind Echohawk is Council President Lorena Gonzalez, who has received almost $58,000 in individual contributions. While she has been assigned nearly 3,000 Democracy Vouchers, her campaign has yet to complete the qualifying process that allows her to redeem them.
A surprise candidate has raised significant funds to challenge both Echohawk and Gonzalez in Andrew Grant Houston. Houston is the interim policy manager for Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda, and bills himself as a progressive, environmentally-focused candidate for mayor. So far, he’s raised close to $49,000 in individual contributions from 1,130 donors, and reported Tuesday that his campaign has received over 4,500 Democracy Vouchers totaling $125,000.
“These early numbers are a clear indication that Seattleites are responding to our vision for the city. A mayor prepared to take action really resonates with them,” he said in a written release.
As of Wednesday, Grant Houston and Echohawk are the only two candidates eligible to redeem their Democracy Vouchers. Six others — including Gonzalez — are still completing the qualifying process.
UPDATE, 3/10/21: Shortly after 3 p.m. Wednesday, Gonzalez announced on Twitter that her campaign has completed the qualifying process, and can now redeem her assigned Democracy Vouchers.