Narratives for pair of Seattle council races paint dramatically different pictures

Oct 4, 2021, 8:24 AM | Updated: Oct 7, 2021, 8:15 am
Seattle City Council races...
The Seattle City Council dais. (Seattle City Council, Flickr Creative Commons)
(Seattle City Council, Flickr Creative Commons)

With election day less than a month away, the respective narratives surrounding Seattle’s two at-large city council races paint opposing pictures.

Another election, another late surge for Seattle’s progressive candidates

In the race for Lorena Gonzalez’s open Position 9 seat, Fremont Brewery co-founder Sara Nelson recently took the lead in fundraising, having brought in over $415,000 as of Oct. 5. Oliver trails close behind at nearly $392,000, with $288,400 of that total coming in the form of over 11,500 Democracy Vouchers. Nelson is one of just two candidates in the general election across all races to not be using vouchers to collect campaign funds.

Where Oliver holds the advantage is in total donors, with her funds coming from over 5,600 individual contributors, compared to just over 1,600 for Nelson.

Both Oliver and Nelson have also reached the maximum fundraising limit for the general election, which is set at $375,000 for city council races. Moving forward, they will be permitted to petition the Seattle Ethics and Election Committee (SEEC) to lift that cap.

A late surge saw Oliver narrowly edge out Nelson in the August primary, taking 40.2% of the vote to Nelson’s 39.5%. Brianna Thomas finished in third with 13.4%, followed by Corey Eichner at 3.5%.

In terms of early polling, a Crosscut/Elway survey of 400 likely Seattle voters taken in mid-September showed the two candidates running neck-and-neck, with Nelson holding a 31% to 26% lead over Oliver, just within the poll’s 5% margin of error.

Primary shows Seattle voters split down stark political lines

Seattle’s Position 8 at-large is a much different story, with a much larger gap separating the two candidates.

As of Sept. 27, incumbent Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda has raised over $246,000 on the strength of almost 4,900 contributors. Over $180,000 of that comes from the 7,202 Democracy Vouchers her campaign has received as of Oct. 1.

Mosqueda’s opponent, civil engineer Kenneth Wilson, has raised $61,815 across 334 contributors thus far, and joins Nelson as the only Seattle candidates not using Democracy Vouchers.

Mosqueda handily won the August primary, garnering nearly 60% of the vote. Wilson surprised many with his second place finish, taking 16.2% of the vote after polling published by the Northwest Progressive Institute had him at just 1% in mid-July.

Crosscut/Elway’s mid-September poll showed Mosqueda leading Wilson by a 33% to 17% margin. Comparatively, Mosqueda polled at 26% in the NWPI’s mid-July survey for the August primary.

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Narratives for pair of Seattle council races paint dramatically different pictures