Here's who ran in the primary election for Seattle mayor

by: KIRO 7 Staff Updated:

A long list of candidates were fighting to become the next Seattle mayor ahead of the primary election. 

According to the first round of election results from the August 1 primary, Jenny Durkan is the front runner of the race. The initial results show Cary Moon and Nikkita Oliver trailing Durkan. Read full election results here.

Incumbent Seattle Mayor Ed  Murray announced in May that he would not seek re-election amid a lawsuit that claimed he sexually abused a homeless, drug-addicted teen in the 80s. Since his announcement, the filings for mayoral candidate grew to 21, a daunting list that voters saw on their summer ballot. 

But only two candidates will go to the November election. If Tuesday's results hold through the next multiple result drops, then Durkan and Moon will be the two names on the November ballot.

Get alerts about the campaign trail by downloading the KIRO 7 News app here. 

Below you will find who ran in the primary race, and interviews political reporter Essex Porter did with six of those candidates. 


Who’s in the race?

  • Gary Brose
  • Casey Carlisle
  • Tiniell Cato
  • Jenny Durkan
  • State Rep. Jessyn Farrell 
  • Greg Hamilton
  • State Sen. Bob Hasewaga
  • Michael Harris
  • Thom Gunn
  • David Ishii
  • Lewis A. Jones
  • Dave Kane
  • Harley Lever
  • Mary Juanita Martin
  • Former Seattle mayor Michael McGinn
  • Cary Moon
  • James W. Norton, Jr. 
  • Larry Oberto
  • Nikkita Oliver
  • Jason Roberts
  • Alex Tsimerman
  • Keith Whiteman

Who’s making headlines?

Jenny Durkan

About: Durkan earned her law degree from the University of Washington School of Law and served as U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Washington under President Barack Obama from October 2009 through September 2014.

Some believe her efforts in the area of police accountability and civil rights best define her time as a U.S. attorney. Read more about Durkan here.

Jessyn Farrell 

About: If elected mayor, Jessyn Farrell says she will make housing a top priority. KIRO 7 News talked to Farrell, and she says affordability goes beyond the price of housing.

“We know that it costs more to put an infant in full-time child care than it does to send a kid to college. So I think we need to make a commitment that child care should cost no more than 10 percent of a family's income.” Read her full interview here or watch it below. 

Bob Hasegawa

Washington State Sen. Hasegawa is a lifelong resident of the 11th District, which stretches over Seattle’s Georgetown, SODO, and Beacon Hill neighborhoods, down to Tukwila and then east to parts of Renton.

Hasegawa introduced a populist bill this year to establish a state-run bank similar to the one in North Dakota. The state-bank idea died in Washington for the fifth session in a row. Read how a state-bank would work here.

Hasegawa told KIRO 7 News he's running for Seattle mayor to tackle the challenge of making a prosperous city more affordable for the people who live there. Read more about him here.

Mike McGinn

About: McGinn, who announced his candidacy in mid-April, served as Seattle mayor from 2010 to 2014.

When McGinn conceded the mayoral race in 2013 to Murray, he admitted that he “rubbed people the wrong way” during his time as Seattle mayor. McGinn – a former Sierra Club activist and attorney – was a strong advocate for transit options and was known for riding his bicycle to events.

In an interview with KIRO 7, he asked for another chance. Read more or watch it below.

Cary Moon

About: Moon is an urban planner and engineer best known for her activism against the Alaskan Way Viaduct replacement tunnel. She is a member of – but currently on a leave of absence from – the board of directors of the Progress Alliance and the One Center City Advisory Board.

Moon cites traffic congestion, expensive rents, and surging homelessness as some of the city’s biggest challenges. Read more about Moon here.

Nikkita Oliver

About: Oliver, an attorney, announced her intentions to run in March. She is running under the Peoples Party of Seattle, which is a community-centered grassroots political party. Oliver works as a teaching artist and mentor in Seattle Public Schools and for the non-profit organization Creative Justice, which uses artwork with court-involved youth.

Oliver told KIRO 7 News that making Seattle more affordable is about more than the price of housing. Read the full interview here or watch it below. 

Casey Carlisle

About: Casey Carlisle, a libertarian candidate, told KIRO Radio that the people running for office all tend to focus on issues that are, “either beyond Seattle or simply impossible.”

“This talk of implementing an income tax in the city, regardless of one’s opinion on that, our own state Constitution forbids it,” Carlisle said. “Olympia tried doing something similar last year and it was struck down. So I don’t understand why we continue to focus on that."

Carlisle does not have any political experience.

Michael Harris

About: Michael Harris, who has regularly contributed to several television networks, declared his candidacy for Seattle mayor on KIRO Radio’s Jason and Burns Show.

“Every time we have a race like this we have question about ‘What’s the big special interest behind the candidates?'” Harris told Jason and Burns. “I do have a special interest behind me and that’s homelessness."

Harris wants to engage police officers on the front lines of the homelessness issue to help get a hold of the problem and he is in favor of ideas such as safe injection sites.


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