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Why surprisingly tight race for Seattle City Attorney is ‘seat to pay attention to’

Jul 22, 2021, 5:27 AM
Seattle City Attorney...
Pete Holmes (left), Nicole Thomas-Kennedy (center), and Ann Davison (right).
(right)

Perhaps one of the biggest surprises leading into August’s primary election in Seattle involves the race for city attorney, where 12-year incumbent Pete Holmes may very well be facing a challenging path to reelection.

Race for Seattle City Attorney draws pair of last-minute challengers

According to recent polling released by the Northwest Progressive Institute, Holmes holds a slim lead over his two challengers, Nicole Thomas-Kennedy and Ann Davison.

Change Research — on behalf of NPI — surveyed 617 respondents online between July 12-15, asking who they plan to vote for in August’s primary election. For those who said they were undecided, they were then asked who they would vote for “if they had to choose.”

Holmes ended up with just 16% of support, followed by Thomas-Kennedy and Davison at 14% each. Another 53% for voters remained undecided.

For Davison, she believes that in the midst of high-profile mayoral and council campaigns, that polling is indicative of just how important the city attorney race will likely end up being.

“This is the seat to pay attention to,” she told KTTH’s Jason Rantz Show.

Davison — who ran for Seattle City Council in 2019 — is running her campaign on restoring the “adversarial” relationship between the city attorney’s office and criminals.

“We have allowed a culture of crime to be welcomed in under the Holmes approach for the past 12 years,” she described. “We need to return it to centering victims — we do not need two defense attorneys before a judge.”

Primary Election ballots on the way to registered Washington voters

“We clearly want to help the accused and make sure they come back into society, but we don’t overlook the victim in the circumstance, and that’s what this role is supposed to be,” she added.

Thomas-Kennedy is campaigning on a different approach, advocating for the city to stop prosecuting most misdemeanors, while defunding SPD and focusing on “large scale harms,” including “wage left, corporate landlords, and oil companies that destroy the environment.”

And while she and Davison operate on opposite sides of the political spectrum, they both came to similar conclusions regarding the tight early polling numbers.

“Pete [Holmes] is in trouble,” Thomas-Kennedy tweeted on Monday.

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Why surprisingly tight race for Seattle City Attorney is ‘seat to pay attention to’