Sara Nelson: Wins for moderate candidates prove Seattle’s ‘political landscape has shifted’

Nov 8, 2021, 2:12 PM
Seattle councilmember Sara Nelson...
(AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)
(AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)

With nearly 55% of the vote as of last Friday’s vote tally, Sara Nelson appears to be on her way to becoming Seattle’s newest at-large city councilmember. Speaking to KIRO Radio’s Gee & Ursula Show, she detailed what it was about her message that resonated with voters.

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Nelson billed herself as the more moderate alternative to her opponent, Nikkita Oliver. With an existing city council that has skewed in a more progressive direction in recent years, she believes that voters “didn’t fall for the classic ‘right versus left’ framing” in her race.

“Voters rejected the far left agenda and its ‘us versus them’ rhetoric in favor of an inclusive, pragmatic approach to our challenges,” she opined. “The political landscape has shifted.”

Moving forward, she hopes that shift will “signal to my colleagues that the status quo isn’t working, and we have to do things differently.”

She also believes that her status as a self-described “policy nerd” will help shape her priorities on the dais, particularly as someone who’s passionate about the importance of local politics.

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“I’m interested in local politics because that’s where the rubber meets the road,” she described. “Local politics is what drives your electric bills and the state of your roads and bridges.”

That’s also part of what fueled concerns over reaching voters with her messaging.

“It’s hard to run as a policy nerd, because I realized that I was talking about nitty gritty sort of programs and little changes that I can make that would make a big difference,” she noted. “That doesn’t sound as compelling as some of the grander statements that can be made, but … we do have to actually focus on what will be my precise leverage as a city councilmember to do, and those are the kinds of commitments that I was making on the campaign trail.”

Listen to the Gee and Ursula Show weekday mornings from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. on KIRO Radio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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Sara Nelson: Wins for moderate candidates prove Seattle’s ‘political landscape has shifted’