MYNORTHWEST BLOG

With 12-year incumbent out, tectonic changes are on the way for Seattle City Attorney’s office

Aug 9, 2021, 6:08 AM | Updated: 11:02 am
fundraising Seattle City Attorney...
Seattle City Attorney candidates Nicole Thomas-Kennedy and Ann Davison. (courtesy photos)
(courtesy photos)

With 12-year incumbent Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes having officially bowed out, the political gap between the remaining two candidates is perhaps the widest of any other race.

Lawmaker calls for shutdown of King County Courthouse after assault

Both Nicole Thomas-Kennedy and Ann Davison threw their names into the ring just under the May filing deadline for candidates. And while Holmes was still initially expected to handily win reelection against the pair of newcomers, his tenuous hold on the race became clear in July, when polling indicated that voters were beginning to lean away from the incumbent.

The primary election saw that trend play out in earnest, with Thomas-Kennedy and Davison pulling in 35% and 33% of the vote, respectively, leaving Holmes trailing behind in third at 31%.

Following Holmes’ concession last Friday, Seattle is now left with a choice between two candidates who would each represent a tectonic change for the city attorney’s office should they win in November.

For Thomas-Kennedy, a general election victory would put the self-described “abolitionist” in a position to follow through on her promise to end the prosecution of low-level misdemeanors, and, as she describes it, reduce the city’s dependence on law enforcement, lawyers, and jails.

“Every year the City Attorney chooses to prosecute petty offenses born out of poverty, addiction and disability,” she describes on her campaign website. “These prosecutions are destabilizing, ineffective, and cost the City millions each year.”

“We must dismantle this wasteful system of criminal punishment,” she continues.

With the endorsements from The Stranger, former Mayor Mike McGinn, and former mayoral candidate Cary Moon, Thomas-Kennedy has lined up support at the progressive end of the spectrum leading into November.

Opposing her is Davison, whose own victory in November would immediately set her apart as a rare conservative within Seattle City Hall. Having previously run as a Republican for Lieutenant Governor, her tough-on-crime campaign for city attorney this year has garnered the support of a PAC that supported several prominent Washington Republicans during the 2020 election cycle.

In the past she’s attacked Holmes for being too lenient with violent criminals, while frequently drawing parallels between the city’s growing issues with homeless encampments and a perceived criminal element stemming from that trend.

See all local election results

“Right now, what society is screaming at us here locally is crime is increasing — social spending is increasing, prosecution is decreasing,” she told KIRO Radio’s Gee and Ursula Show last week. “That tells us that the money is not the answer, or it’s not in appropriate programs where there are measurable outcomes to get to the interventions that we want. It tells us that there still does need to be an increase in prosecution.”

Although Holmes is now out of the race, he delivered parting shots at both candidates in his concession last Friday.

“The City Attorney’s Office does not have jurisdiction over felonies like murders, burglaries, drug offenses, or auto theft,” he addressed toward Davison’s campaign.

“Low-level cases like shoplifting and trespass are referred to the newly-established Community Court where intervention and restoration are the outcome, not jail,” he directed toward Thomas-Kennedy.

“After facing one candidate who considered my criminal policies too lax and another who considered them too draconian, it’s clear Seattle’s a city with fractured views, sadly reflective of the polarized politics that grips our nation,” Holmes concluded. “Whether the Republican candidate or the Abolitionist candidate prevails in November, they’ll face a truly daunting set of challenges.”

MyNorthwest Blog

ice seattle Durkan, oil furnace...
Nick Bowman

Looking back on mayoral term marked by years of conflict between Jenny Durkan, city council

However brief Jenny Durkan's tenure as mayor will be, it's one that's been punctuated by frequent flare-ups of conflict between her office and city council.
12 days ago
sept 11...
MyNorthwest Staff

KIRO Radio shares memories from Sept. 11, 2001

These are the stories from KIRO Radio's hosts and reporters as they recall and honor Sept. 11, 2001.
17 days ago
Compassion Seattle...
Nick Bowman

What went wrong for Compassion Seattle’s homeless initiative, and what’s next?

With a judge striking a proposed charter amendment from Compassion Seattle off the ballot, what's next for the group ahead of November's election?
28 days ago
Seattle red lining...
Nick Bowman

Red-lining, race, and wealth continue to form borders between Seattle voters

Candidates Seattle voters chose in the August primary paint a stark picture of a city divided by racial and economic lines dating back nearly a century.
1 month ago
Burgess, Seattle conservatives...
Nick Bowman

In city that rarely elects Republicans, Seattle conservatives aim for influence behind the scenes

Conservative groups, donors, and campaign operatives have looked to subtly wield their influence throughout Seattle's current election cycle.
1 month ago
homeless, sales tax, Compassion Seattle...
Nick Bowman

Large donations to ‘Compassion Seattle’ homelessness initiative dwarf all other races in 2021

While donations have flooded in to Seattle election races in 2021, no single candidate or campaign has raised as much as Compassion Seattle.
2 months ago

Sponsored Articles

...
IQ Air

How Poor Air Quality Is Affecting Our Future Athletes

You cannot control your child’s breathing environment 100% of the time, but you can make a huge impact.
...
Swedish Health Services

Special Coverage: National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

There are a wide variety of treatment options available for men with prostate cancer. The most technologically advanced treatment option in the Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform.
...
Marysville Police Department

Police Opportunities in a Growing, Supportive Washington Community

Marysville PD is looking for both lateral and entry level officers. Begin or continue your career in law enforcement for a growing, supportive community.
Courtesy of JWatch Photography....
Experience Anacortes

Summer Fun Activities in Anacortes

With minimal travel time required and every activity under the sun, Anacortes is the perfect vacation spot for all ages.
...
By Alaska Airlines

Calling all football fans: follow Russell on the road

Take your Northwest spirit that we’re known for on the road this season with Alaska Airlines.
...
By Marysville Police Department

Police Opportunities in a Growing, Supportive Washington Community

Marysville PD is looking for lateral and entry level officers. Begin or continue your career in law enforcement for a growing, supportive community.
With 12-year incumbent out, tectonic changes are on the way for Seattle City Attorney’s office