Seattle City Council election preview: Voters set for city hall overhaul

Seattle City Hall ahead of upcoming city council elections

SEATTLE — After dozens of candidates jostled for position in the August primary, voters are set to decide on one of two candidates in each of seven races, with just three incumbents running for reelection.

District 1

With incumbent Lisa Herbold not running for reelection, two new faces are competing to fill her seat: Maren Costa and Rob Saka.

Costa bills herself as a “senior leader in tech,” highlighting a need to make “rapid and meaningful progress on safety, homelessness, affordability, and climate change.” She supports police and “alternative responses” working together. She has been endorsed by The Stranger, MLK Labor, King County Democrats, Seattle Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda, former Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn, and departing Councilmember Lisa Herbold among others.

Saka is an attorney and Air Force veteran, who emphasizes his belief in “safe communities and better policing.” He describes his experience growing up in low-income housing as a catalyst toward the idea that “everyone deserves safe, quality affordable housing.” He has been endorsed by Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell, The Seattle Times, Seattle Councilmembers Sara Nelson, Debora Juarez, and Alex Pedersen, and King County Councilmember Girmay Zahilay among others.

Costa won the August primary over Saka by a 33% to 24% margin.

District 2

In District 2, incumbent Tammy Morales is facing off against challenger Tanya Woo.

Morales was first elected to the dais in 2019. Since then, she touts her commitments to “investing in historically under-funded schools,” as well as passing legislation protecting tenants, giving paid sick leave to gig workers, and funding for “community-driven development.” She has been endorsed by Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal, Seattle Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda, MLK Labor, and The Stranger.

Woo is a business owner based out of Seattle’s Chinatown International District. She points to her experience as a “community advocate” in the fight against “continued discrimination from the city towards one of the most endangered neighborhoods in America.” She has been endorsed by the Seattle Times, former Washington Gov. Gary Locke, and Seattle Councilmember Sara Nelson.

Morales took 52% of votes in the August Primary to Woo’s 43%.

District 3

For the first time since 2013, District 3 will elect new councilmember, as incumbent Kshama Sawant steps down following nearly a decade in office. Running to replace her are Joy Hollingsworth and Alex Hudson.

Hollingsworth boasts experience with the Food Access Network and Northwest Harvest as part of her work with nonprofits focused on food access. In her run for council, she stresses her focus on community safety, affordable housing, and healthy communities. She has been endorsed by Mayor Bruce Harrell, King County Councilmember Girmay Zahilay, MLK Labor, and the Seattle Times.

Hudson bills herself as a “progressive urbanist,” promising to bring “substantive constructive solutions” to issues like homelessness, public safety, and housing affordability. She has been endorsed by The Stranger, King County Democrats, and King County Councilmembers Claudia Balducci, Joe McDermott, and Rod Dembowski.

The August Primary was a tight race, with Hollingsworth narrowly winning against Hudson 36.9% to 36.5%.

District 4

With incumbent Councilmember Alex Pedersen stepping down at the end of his term this year, Ron Davis and Maritza Rivera will run to fill his seat.

As an entrepreneur, Davis stresses the need for Seattle to fix wasted government spending, and focus on “revenue sources that don’t take from young families or seniors on fixed incomes.” He has been endorsed by Seattle Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda, The Stranger, King County Councilmember Girmay Zahilay, and MLK Labor.

Rivera serves as the Deputy Director for Seattle’s Office of Arts & Culture. She states that it’s “unacceptable” for Seattle to not have an alternative to armed 911 responses, and emphasizes fixing that as a focus of her campaign. She has been endorsed by the Seattle Times, Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson, Mayor Bruce Harrell, and Councilmember Sara Nelson.

Davis won the August Primary over Rivera by a 45% to 32% margin.

District 5

Council President Debora Juarez is stepping down, as Cathy Moore and ChrisTiana ObeySumner run to represent District 5 in her stead.

Moore is a retired King County Superior Court judge. She highlights public safety, homelessness, and buses and bikes for city neighborhoods as her campaign’s priorities. She has been endorsed by Mayor Harrell, the Seattle Times, MLK Labor, Councilmember Juarez, and King County Executive Dow Constantine.

ObeySumner serves as CEO for Epiphanies of Equity, which provides social equity consulting services. She aims to focus on targeting the “root causes of inequity,” by addressing wage parity, better working conditions, and affordable housing. She has been endorsed by King County Councilmember Girmay Zahilay, The Stranger, King County Democrats, and State Sen. Rebecca Saldaña.

Moore won the August Primary over ObeySumner 30.7% to 24.4%.

District 6

In District 6, Councilmember Dan Strauss is one of the few incumbents running for reelection, as he faces off against challenger Pete Hanning.

Strauss was elected to city council in 2019. He touts his work to “moving homeless people from parks and sidewalks to housing,” and stresses his commitment to public safety and addressing the city’s housing crisis. He has been endorsed by Attorney General Bob Ferguson, King County Councilmember Girmay Zahilay, and Mayor Bruce Harrell.

Hanning is the executive director for the Fremont Chamber of Commerce. He vows to restore police staffing levels and increase shelter space for Seattle’s unhoused population. He has been endorsed by the Seattle Times, and six former Seattle councilmembers, including Sue Donaldson and Peter Steinbrueck.

Strauss won the August Primary over Hanning 52% to 29%.

District 7

Incumbent Councilmember Andrew Lewis will fight to retain his seat against Bob Kettle.

Lewis was elected in 2019. Over his first term, he points to votes to fully fund SPD’s hiring budget, and assisting in the creation of the city’s Unified Care Team to move people living in encampments into shelters. He has been endorsed by The Stranger, MLK Labor, Attorney General Bob Ferguson, and King County Executive Dow Constantine.

Kettle has served as a naval intelligence officer, and says Seattle needs to “get serious about crime reduction.” He wants to put more resources in recruiting and retaining police officers, and add more capacity to addiction centers and mental health facilities. He has been endorsed by the Seattle Times, Councilmembers Juarez, Nelson, and Pedersen, and City Attorney Ann Davison.

Lewis won the primary over Kettle 43.5% to 31.5%.

You can read through statements from each candidate running for Seattle City Council at this link.