With Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan announcing she is not running for re-election, she makes the fourth in the past five Seattle mayors to not run for a second term.
So far, speculation has at-large Seattle City Councilmember Lorena Gonzalez in the mix as a possible candidate, but her fellow councilmember Teresa Mosqueda has stated she will run for re-election to her council seat rather than run for mayor. However, William Kopatich and David Ishii have filed paperwork with the Public Disclosure Commission (PDC) to run for Seattle mayor, and fellow mayoral candidate Lance Randall has already raised $12,887. Gonzalez is the current president of the council. Other names mentioned include Nikkita Oliver and Cary Moon.
King County Executive Dow Constantine has already announced his bid for re-election and has raised over $800,000. Constantine had been anticipating running for governor against Attorney General Bob Ferguson, but when Gov. Jay Inslee’s presidential dreams didn’t go according to plan, both Ferguson and Constantine decided to stay in their current jobs. Ferguson was re-elected last year.
But how about other local officials? King County elected officials are considered non-partisan, but their political affiliations are well known. The incumbent always has an advantage because of name familiarity, fundraising and the ability to award county money to groups in their district and reap the media coverage. Republican Reagan Dunn is a 15-year incumbent in King County Council position 9 and has raised $102,961. He has two opponents: Renton City Councilmember Kim-Khanh Van has raised $61,613 and active Democrat Chris Franco has $2,750.
King County Councilmember Dave Upthegrove in position 5 is a Democrat and has raised $78,160. His opponent, Shukri Olow, has raised $53,734. There had been considerable speculation a few months ago that District 7 incumbent Pete von Reichbauer would not seek re-election and included some names of others who were thought to be interested should von Reichbauer not run. However, von Reichbauer has notably increased his district visibility, suggesting he is gearing up to run for another term. In position 3, Republican incumbent Kathy Lambert has raised $1,937 and will be challenged by Sarah Perry.
In the suburban cities, police accountability is a major topic and Black Lives Matter has continued to gain momentum. Although the protests have been restrained, they may have an effect on local elections.
Auburn Mayor Nancy Backus seems likely to run for a third term. Auburn City Councilmembers Claude DaCorsi, Yolanda Trout-Manuel and Larry Brown are also up for election this year. Backus got ahead of the police accountability issue with police treatment of minorities after one of the city’s officers was indicted by the King County Prosecutor, and she had already moved to change police chiefs and add a staff person to focus on equity and inclusion. The chief has been slowed by COVID-19, but is working on changes, as is the new staff person.
Kent Mayor Dana Ralph is up for re-election along with Kent City Councilmembers Satwinder Kaur, Toni Troutner and Brenda Fincher. Kent has made some adjustments to its policies, but a local group, ForFortyTwo, which refers to the number of schools in Kent, wants more change through the budget. Dawn Bennett has filed with the PDC to run for mayor against Ralph.
In Federal Way, Mayor Jim Ferrell has been in campaign mode for several months and has raised $22,000 toward his re-election. Ferrell is a former county prosecutor and is politically aligned with the police guild. He has not shown an ongoing commitment to working with community minorities and could have challengers, as there has been some controversy with police treatment of minorities, along with a significant financial loss over a use of force case. Although that may change as internal changes in staffing may signify a change in Ferrell’s approach. Perennial candidate Clifford Mark Greene has filed paperwork with the PDC to run for mayor. Federal Way City Council President and former mayoral candidate Susan Honda is rumored to be considering another run, and some speculate that former councilmember Jack Dovey may consider the race as well.
However, both Ferrell and King County Councilmember Pete von Reichbauer are keeping track of former State Rep. Kristine Reeves to see what she might be thinking, as speculation had Reeves possibly interested in either position. Last year, Reeves ran for the vacant Congressional seat in the 10th District and recently accepted a temporary position with the Department of Natural Resources to help with their lobbying effort during the legislative session. Reeves said she is weighing her options now and won’t make a decision on her political future until closer to the end of the legislative session.
In addition to Ferrell, councilmembers Martin Moore, along with newly appointed councilmembers Greg Baruso and Leandra Craft are up for election this year. Moore ran as an “independent Republican” for a District 30 legislative seat last year and lost, exposing some vulnerability. Democrats are likely looking for an opponent. The two new members of the council may also attract opponents, and some speculate local businessman Jack Walsh, who also lost a legislative race last year, might be interested.
Renton Mayor Armondo Pavone is not up for re-election this year, but incumbent Renton City Councilmembers Randy Corman, Ruth Perez and Angelina Benedetti are likely to run for re-election.
This is a local government year for elections in cities, school districts, special purpose districts and the county. If you have some great ideas about what could make your community a better place to live, consider running for office. It is a great learning experience.
Federal Way resident Bob Roegner is a former mayor of Auburn. Contact email@example.com.