A less liberal Seattle? Voters pick their path

SEATTLE — Seattle is known for being one of the most liberal cities in the country. But this election, the city’s voters are taking a big step toward more moderate candidates.

Analysts said one clear sign of the change is that Seattleites strongly favor a Republican candidate for city attorney.

“The voters picked a path,” said Mark Alan Smith, a political-science professor at the University of Washington.

“Is that a more conservative path?” KIRO7′s Deedee Sun asked.

“Yes, I think you have to say it’s a more conservative path. Traditionally, ‘law and order’ is a conservative stance,” Smith said.

With 31% of votes counted as of Wednesday evening, the more progressive candidates for mayor, city attorney and city council position 9, all are trailing far behind.

“I think it’s a shake-up,” said Jeremy Owens, a Seattle voter.

“Not surprised at all. I think everyone saw it coming,” said Mark, a Seattle business owner who declined to share his last name. He said people’s frustrations with homelessness and crime drove their decisions at the ballot box.

“So happy that potentially we’re going to get back to just a normal police department and normal law and order,” Mark said.

Several other business owners/employees in Seattle’s Green Lake neighborhood said they were tired of constant theft and property damage while seeing no consequences, but declined to speak on camera Wednesday.

Still, Smith describes Republican candidate Ann Davison’s likely win over Nicole Thomas-Kennedy “remarkable” for Seattle.

“The last Republican elected in Seattle was in 1975,” Smith said.

He points to Thomas-Kennedy’s series of anti-police and pro-property destruction tweets as her downfall, as well as her promises not to prosecute most misdemeanors.

“That’s just not going to fly, even in Seattle, so Davison just had the fortune to run against probably the one person she could beat,” Smith said.

The shift in Seattle—voters wanting candidates who are more moderate and promising public safety— is something that’s happening across the country, Smith said.

He points out in 2020, while former President Donald Trump lost ground nationally, he actually gained in many big cities—foreshadowing what would happen this election.

“Even in 2020, you could see there was a sense of unrest, kind of disorder in cities,” Smith said.

He also points out that on a nationwide political spectrum, all the “moderate” Democratic candidates still would be considered progressive. Davison is a new Republican but told KIRO7 she voted for both Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden for president.

As changes Seattle we can expect to see next year, it will all depend on how well the candidates follow through on their campaign promises. Some of the promises surrounding homelessness and policing will need to be worked on with regional authorities and/or city council.