Tight battle for top two in Seattle mayor’s race

With ballots now in voters’ hands, there are still a lot of undecided people in Seattle’s race for mayor. Voters told us what they want to see in Seattle’s next mayor.

“I’d really like to see more involvement with our communities of color. I mean, like really,” said teacher Joyce Jackson.

“I’d like to see less conflict among our communities. I’d like to see effective policies,” said retired businessman Doug Nordberg.

The recent Northwest Progressive Institute poll shows former City Council President Bruce Harrell leading the top-two primary with 20% support. Current City Council President Lorena Gonzalez has 12%. She is barely ahead of former Chief Seattle Club Director Colleen Echohawk, who has secured 10%. Former state lawmaker, Jessyn Farrell, is at 6%. In all, 32% of voters are undecided.

Harrell has the most City Hall experience. He boasts three terms on the City Council and even spent a few days as interim mayor. He plans to “address the homelessness issue aggressively and get our streets back or parks back our open spaces, back house people. We don’t want to criminalize poverty, but people want to feel good about how they’re treating the homeless as well.”

Farrell said, “We are in a situation where the status quo is just not working. And yet we need someone who knows how to deliver results. And I’m that candidate.”

Echohawk has experience building affordable housing as leader of the Chief Seattle Club. She rejects criticism of her lack of City Hall experience.

“I guess I would turn that around and say why would be continue to support elected officials when our crises in the city have continued to fail,” she added.

The NPI poll shows a generational divide, with Harrell attracting older voters, and younger voters tending to favor Gonzalez.

And candidates have to judge what approach voters want after 18 months of pandemic anxiety and social justice protests.

“Bold transformational change,” said Echohawk — especially when it comes to tackling homelessness.

“We need leadership. That’s able to articulate bold visions but sweat the details. The details actually matter,” said Farrell.

Harrell shared his approach, “So there are times to be bold, and we will take advantage of those times. There’s also times to talk to the community, talk to the city, and we will do that as well.”

Gonzalez’s campaign wasn’t able to connect with us for an interview today.