Gap in strategy, fundraising opens up between Seattle City Attorney candidates

Aug 18, 2021, 7:44 AM | Updated: 10:48 am
fundraising Seattle City Attorney...
Seattle City Attorney candidates Nicole Thomas-Kennedy and Ann Davison. (courtesy photos)
(courtesy photos)

With the field set for the Seattle City Attorney race in the general election, a sizable fundraising gap — both in strategy and dollar amounts — has opened up between the two candidates vying for the job.

Tectonic changes on the way for Seattle City Attorney’s office

The city attorney primary election represented the largest upset of any Seattle race this year, with former public defender Nicole Thomas-Kennedy and local attorney and arbitrator Ann Davison finishing with 36% and 32% of the vote, respectively, unseating 12-year incumbent Pete Holmes.

Now, all eyes are on the November election, which will pit Thomas-Kennedy — a self-described “abolitionist” in favor of ending the prosecution of low-level misdemeanors — against Davison, who would represent the first Republican elected to Seattle’s city government in decades. As both candidates ramp up for a race that will bring large-scale changes to the city attorney’s office, Thomas-Kennedy has taken a sizable early lead in fundraising efforts.

As of Tuesday, Thomas-Kennedy has taken in over $184,000 in Democracy Vouchers across nearly 2,500 individual contributors, having already poured tens of thousands of dollars from those funds into the Prism Washington consulting group for voucher harvesting, canvassing, digital ad buys, targeted mailers, and video production.

Prism also supported similarly robust Democracy Voucher collection efforts for former mayoral candidate Andrew Grant Houston, eventually helping him bring in the second most of any candidate in the primary (albeit with Houston opting to spend far less of that money on more expansive strategies Thomas-Kennedy has employed).

Local Democrat group endorses ‘abolitionist’ city attorney candidate

Davison has taken a different tack, having yet to qualify for Democracy Vouchers, while bringing in just over $36,000 in individual contributions. That focus on independent donations as an alternative to vouchers can be seen in her campaign expenditures, a large portion of which have gone to a company called eFundraising Connections that helps candidates with “fully integrated donation accounting software.”

Meanwhile, larger promotional efforts have been helped along by a PAC known as the Concerned Taxpayer Accountability Center, whose treasurer Jason Michaud also serves as Davison’s campaign treasurer. That support includes $20,000 spent by the group on campaign mailers during the primary. Michaud previously served on a separate PAC during the 2020 election cycle that supported several prominent Washington state Republicans.

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Gap in strategy, fundraising opens up between Seattle City Attorney candidates