With the first batch of ballots counted, Jenny Durkan has a commanding 61-39% lead over Cary Moon in the race for Seattle Mayor. Teresa Mosqueda and Lorena González also lead their respective city council races, 62-38% and 68-32%, respectively.  King County Executive Dow Constantine also cruised to re-election.

Meanwhile, over on the Eastside, Manka Dhingra, the lynchpin of the Democratic party’s grand plan for West Coast domination, seems to be cruising to victory, 55-45%.

The Seattle Times has called the race for Jenny Durkan, who will be the city’s first woman mayor in almost a century.  The new Mayor-elect will have just three short weeks to transition into office.

In the races for Port Commissioner, Peter Steinbrueck and Stephanie Bowman both have strong leads, but the tight race between John Creighton and Ryan Calkins probably won’t be called anytime soon.

47 Replies to “Durkan, Mosqueda, Dhingra Leading Big in Key Races”

  1. It’s worth asking, why did Durkin win with such a large margin, when Durkin and Moon were the most similar that I’ve seen for a long time. Were people impressed with Durkin’s unique policies or ability to manage? Did they follow the Seattle Times endorsement? Were they impressed by other big-name endorsements? Or her “establishment” branding by the media? But how could a city vote for an establishment mayor and a radical councilmember Sawant and representative Jayapal? Or is it just that east Seattle votes more radically than the rest of the city?

    Way back before the primaries, in a podcast Frank said that he thought Durkan would be our next mayor, even though he endorsed somebody else. At least I think it was Durkan he said that about. So Frank, what gave you that impression, what do you think about it now, and congratulations on predicting accurately.

    My position as always is that either Durkin or Moon will be as good as our past four mayors (not counting short-term appointments), so I’m not worried about the next term.

    1. My two cents: Moon seemed to think (or was painted as thinking) reasons for Vancouver, BC unaffordabile housing= Seattle unaffordable housing. (if you read the Vancouver newspaper comments section “It’s all the (newly arrived) Chinese). Did Moon have a lot of Asian-American support? My guess is, no.

      Vancouver’s transportation (bus and light rail) is about 100X better than Seattle (it’s a bus or car for most people here in Seattle who don’t live close to our one light rail line). If Moon talked more about how to improve transportation now (which as Farrell pointed out, is tied to housing affordability), we might have had a closer result.

    2. In my opinion, Moon didn’t do anything to really differentiate herself from Durkan. Since they were the same on almost all issues, folks figured they would go with someone who they think is better positioned to get things done. Durkan has connections and experience, and those will be important in the next few years, especially when it comes to transportation. Durkan will need to work with the state on the 520 project, the UW on Husky Stadium Station, the ST board, etc.

    3. Durkan and the various independent campaigns supporting her probably spent close to a million dollars more than Moon and any independent campaigns supporting her.

      It would have been a much different contest with democracy vouchers. But, hopefully, Mayor Durkan will not undermine the legal defense of the democracy vouchers.

      Durkan’s views are certainly not identical to Moon’s. She has remained silent on painting 3rd Ave red — the single most important transportation decision she will have to make as mayor. But her strategy, which is common to many of her consultant’s clients, is to stick close to your opponent’s positions. It’s a tactic pretty much right out of Sun Tzu, and quite popular with many campaigns around the country. Of course, deception is an even more famous tactic from Sun Tzu, and even more commonplace in politics.

      The tactic of parroting your opponent’s position became most annoying when Moon promised to return filibuster power to the neighborhood associations, and Durkan said she would too. It does reveal how little Durkan is set on her transportation and housing views, though. Why Moon did that, I do not know. But I do not think Moon has read Sun Tzu.

      We could change the rules of political engagement with a little technology upgrade that will make view-parroting a less successful tactic: ranked choice voting, for which supporters are already circulating petitions. With more than two candidates in the general election, you can’t stick close to all your opponents’ positions at once if they aren’t all in agreement. Then, we’d get to see more policy differences among the candidates, making the election all-the-more meaningful.

      1. Ranked choice voting is a phony reform which doesn’t work. Look up the histories and studies on this. Australia’s lower house of Parliament is the most infamous example.

        You need approval voting.

      2. You didn’t say what’s wrong with RCV. telling other people to “look it up” doesn’t tell them what YOU think is wrong with it, and thus no way to evaluate whether your reasoning is valid. If somebody looks it up they’ll find a mix of opinions, most probably positive, and they which ones you were aware of that led to your conclusion.The issue of course is not whether Australians like their system but whether it’s better than ours. And ours has a huge problem with wasted votes, people who feel they have to vote for the second worst because voting for the third one they like would lead to the worst one winning (who may be very dangerous), and low turnout.

    4. Durkan beat Moon because she is more reasonable, more experienced, more articulate, more knowledgeable, and in every way better qualified than Moon. And yes, she won because she’s “establishment” which I’ve come to realize is just a derogatory term some use in place of “experienced and qualified.” Seattle can’t survive any more economic illiterates in charge; people are starting to realize this and so voted against Moon and Grant.
      Jayapal is hardly radical. Why, one could even go so far as to call her *gasp* “establishment!” I don’t see any contradiction in Seattle voting for both of them. Sawant, on the other hand, is probably finished in 2019; the city council went way too far left, and I don’t think the voters of Seattle will put up with her any longer.

      1. I would say that voting for someone like Sawant makes more sense than voting for Moon simply because she ran for the city council. It is nice if you know how the city runs before you are on the council, but it isn’t a requirement. On the other hand, trying to be mayor of a large city without any major executive or political experience is a big stretch.

      2. “Sawant, on the other hand, is probably finished in 2019; the city council went way too far left, and I don’t think the voters of Seattle will put up with her any longer.”

        Based on what evidence, exactly?

      3. Thank goodness “experienced and qualified” won the night. We’ve seen how awesome an inexperienced populist does in office.

        However, I don’t see Sawant as being all that vulnerable. I’d say she might be gone if she was facing the whole city, but her district (and unfortunately mine) is very friendly to her.

      4. Peter, very glad you brought in the term: “Establishment.” Interview on NPR the other night brought out that, probably for the first time in our country’s history, when the new administration took office, as per custom, every Federal department had senior staff waiting to give their replacement a detailed briefing about the position they were taking over.

        It was several weeks before anybody showed up at all. And when they did, they had two things in common. They were completely unqualified for their jobs. Which bothered them only slightly less than having to care.

        This for agencies like Department of Energy, whose task at hand is to keep an underground river of nuclear waste from reaching the Columbia River.

        Steve Bannon is now planning, in his words, “The Destruction of the Administrative State.”
        So far from being a slur on someone capable and dedicated to their work, our country’s most necessary Revolutionaries will have as their first goal the creation of an indestructible one.

        In this country, the Establishment has already been destroyed. Which a hundred percent precedes every single armed revolution in history- the worse damage the establishment, the worse the civil war. Whatever the outcome, a long time before anybody sees any freedom.

        Anything administrative you want to take out…be prepared to become it.

        Mark

      5. ‘“establishment” which I’ve come to realize is just a derogatory term some use in place of “experienced and qualified.”’

        “Establishment” refers to a point of view, not level of experience. It overlaps heavily with the true meaning of “conservative”; i.e., favoring incremental reforms rather than radical change. The danger is that radical change ignores the collective wisdom of the past and may turn out to be short-sighted. In Seattle’s context establishment means continuing the goals of the growth management act (i.e., building up urban centers), improving transit, being socially moderate, promoting diversity, etc. The business leaders are part of the establishment so to some extent it means what they collectively want, which has both good and bad aspects. And in older regimes it often meant an “old boys network” or political machine based on nepotism, personal loyalty, and corruption. That may be the worst kind of establishmentism.

    5. Think a lot of us voted Durkan without a ton of enthusiasm. I didn’t vote for her in the primary, and would have likely voted for an opponent other than Moon.

      Durkan’s victory is a win for the conservative (in the good sense) notion of rewarding hard-earned pedigree over privileged dabbling. What exactly has Cary Moon ever accomplished that qualifies her to be the mayor of a major American city, besides being born into money, picking up an urban planning “certificate,” and knowing a lot of the right people? As a friend put it, “I mean, what does she do every day? Literally, I don’t have a sense of what she does with her time on a daily basis.” Her wealth opened a lot of doors and afforded her the opportunity to be a full-time networker and amateur urbanist on all the right committees.

      She is polished and knows all the keywords to make certain hearts flutter. Give her that. But a lot of people have sat in a lot of rooms with Cary Moon wondering why her voice was getting so much space until they looked her up and understood who she was friends with and how much money she had. Cary Moon is all about Project Cary Moon in a very entitled and unlikeable way.

      Durkan may not connect with the kiddos; she is what was once called a square. And she may not tick all the boxes that make the urbanist heart throb, but she is an accomplished candidate who has given no reason to believe she can can’t serve as a competent left-of-center executive. She’s not the mayor I want, and I certainly won’t agree with her on everything, but she’ll do.

      1. “As a friend put it, “I mean, what does she do every day? Literally, I don’t have a sense of what she does with her time on a daily basis.” Her wealth opened a lot of doors and afforded her the opportunity to be a full-time networker and amateur urbanist on all the right committees.”

        That sums up exactly why I didn’t vote for Moon. Her positions were fine.

      2. Being a full-time advocate and amateur urbanist is actual *work*. And frankly it involves most of the political and administrative skills involved in being a mayor.

        I’m not going to speak to the question of whether Cary Moon really did that full time.

        But I will say that Jenny Durkan’s history is *worse* preparation for being a mayor — that is crystal clear. Being a prosecutor has very little relevance to being a mayor, unless your platform is to imprison corrupt police, and hers wasn’t.

        I hope Durkan turns out OK, but all signs are that she’s going to be an unmitigated disaster: no track record, slippery as an eel on all political positions, seemingly no policy goals, history of bogus “tough on crime” initiatives — she looks like the typical ladder-climbing apparatchik who doesn’t care whether the city is run properly. I hope I’m wrong.

      3. “I hope Durkan turns out OK, but all signs are that she’s going to be an unmitigated disaster: no track record, slippery as an eel on all political positions, seemingly no policy goals, history of bogus “tough on crime” initiatives — she looks like the typical ladder-climbing apparatchik who doesn’t care whether the city is run properly. I hope I’m wrong.”

        In other words, Murray Jr. (politically of course).

      4. “amateur urbanist on all the right committees”

        Somebody has to do it, or these committees would be 100% reactionary nimbys. That would make the overall city policies and politics worse and make it harder to accomplish anything.

      5. “Being a full-time advocate and amateur urbanist is actual *work*. And frankly it involves most of the political and administrative skills involved in being a mayor.”

        Not so much. But if it did, Durkan has served on more and — and far more important — boards and committees than Moon, while also happening to build a sterling, decades-long resume as a prominent liberal lawyer. So there’s that.

        “Being a prosecutor has very little relevance to being a mayor…”

        First, U.S. attorney is but one of many job titles Durkan has held over the course of an exceedingly distinguished career. Pretending she is “just” a prosecutor is disingenuous at best. Second, you’re honestly trying to argue that running a U.S. attorney’s office requires fewer “political and administrative skills” than whatever it is Moon does with her time? Thanks for a good laugh.

        “no track record”

        I mean…what? Cary Moon’s “Career” wiki is two sentences and covers eight years. She is 54. Let that sink in. And Landscape Agents was a one-person company that accomplished what, exactly, in its brief existence? Her noteworthy activism began in 2004 and ended in 2007, a decade ago. But sure, Durkan is the one with the suspect track record.

        “Somebody has to do it, or these committees would be 100% reactionary nimbys.”

        And more power to her. The question, however, was whether it qualifies you to serve as mayor of a major city if it is essentially the extent of your resume.

    6. “Seattle can’t survive any more economic illiterates in charge; people are starting to realize this and so voted against Moon and Grant.”

      Sigh, who has been economically illterate, and how is Seattle strained? The only economic strain I see is housing prices, and those are because of tight zoning.

      “Sawant, on the other hand, is probably finished in 2019; the city council went way too far left, and I don’t think the voters of Seattle will put up with her any longer.”

      Oh I doubt that, even though I live in her district and I wish it were so, since I am a centrist and maybe establishment. But east Seattle is so leftist that Sawant will probably be there for life unless she goes to a higher office.

      1. I’m not sure whether or not Sawant can continue to win in her district, but I think it’s telling she chose not to run city-wide when the council reconfigured. What higher office do you think she could possibly win?

      2. I think Sawant keeps her seat as long as she wants to as long as she doesn’t get herself involved in a scandal.

        I could see Sawant winning a county council seat or a legislative seat, but that really isn’t a move “up” from where she is now.

        I think she would have to do something big and positive in the minds of a lot of voters to move up to higher office like Mayor or Congress. She’d have to really impress a lot of moderate and centrist voters outside Seattle to be a viable candidate for County Executive or any statewide office.

      3. Unless some serious rebranding went on, can you think of another office, especially one considered an upgrade, she could possibly win?

      4. “What higher office do you think she could possibly win?”

        State legislature, congressional representative.

        “She’d have to really impress a lot of moderate and centrist voters outside Seattle to be a viable candidate for County Executive or any statewide office.”

        Why did Jayapal get into Congress then?

        Congress has a few socialists, libertarians, independents, etc, so it’s not like it would be unprecedented.

      5. I don’t think Sawant will continue further in politics. She’s another rich lady who dabbled in politics (she didn’t mind tech money when it was making her ex rich). I’m not the biggest fan of Jayapal but she has put in the work.

    7. I still contend that the two candidates were remarkably similar from a policy standpoint, which was to the disadvantage of Moon. I lost all respect for her during the KUOW debate. She knew her audience was likely made up of mostly well to do liberals, so she tried very hard to finesse the housing issue, just like her opposition. I am all for subtlety, but this crossed the line, into BS. It would have been remarkably easy for her to differentiate herself, and probably gain a bunch of enthusiastic supporters. All she needed to do is support the original HALA plan. Imagine if she was the following:

      I support the HALA recommendations, unlike Mayor Murray. The HALA committee was made up of community leaders who hammered out a compromise between those that wanted no change at all, and those that wanted to see more affordable options in the city. Building the so called “missing middle” — basement apartments, backyard cottages — while leaving houses in tact would go a long way towards solving our housing crisis.

      But she said no such thing, and implied, if not clearly stated, that there is no reason to fear change in the single family neighborhoods.

      1. Ross, what’s a “liberal?”

        Though anybody who the right wing terrorized into saying “Progressive”, (who were originally Republicans like the ones who started Metro Transit) really isn’t either one.

        Many thanks, Mark

    8. Mike, and everybody else, Jenny won because by trade and experience, she’s a politician, and like Mike McGinn, Cary is not. Haven’t put Dent One in my car, but wouldn’t work for anybody that would put me in the cab of a Kenworth semi pulling two trailers.

      But the Democrats are out of the gate with a torn ligament being gleeful about walls. In his poem “Mending Wall”, Robert Frost nailed it first line: “Something there is that does not love” one. Any chunks left over in Berlin? And will Seattle Arts Commission be the one to decide its Beauty? Pray no current Seattle architect. And….Who’s Wall-Builder in Chief right now?

      Real danger nationwide: voters whose escape over the Wall to freedom leaves current number of out-State politicians with their own gerrymandered numbers unchanged. Meaning overturning us while serving voters either rich and retired, or formerly-employed former Democrats now poor and enraged. We outnumber them. They kill us.

      Our historic Smart Move is retro Marshall Plan, to show an angry and defeated hostile populace they don’t need to go either Nazi or Stalinist. And we’ve already got social media for Radio Free Coast. WWII Swing revival! “Blue Coast” has healthy vibe of a Climate-Change-Resistant cool from New York to New Orleans. But now we get the trademark! Seattle ain’t Alki no more!

      And. For the emphatically future-facing place we want to be: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kshama_Sawant
      This woman personifies both the background and the outlook the society we want needs most. Socialist? In most transit-oriented countries, that’s Center Right. And like it or not- as right wing doesn’t- capitalists make people pay their bills. If I turned several hundred billion dollar miles of roadway into a scrap-yard and walked away with a fortune, I’d expect a bold-face Past Due!

      Mark Dublin

      1. I’ve heard enough unhinged quotes from her that I’d never, ever vote for her. There are probably smart, practical socialists around, but she isn’t one of them.

      2. Bernie is center-right, at least if the national news and social media about him is accurate. In European terms he would be a Social Democrat, which is not quite a French Socialist, and certainly not a Marxist-Lenist-Maoist.

        When Sawant speaks personally in city council meetings or on radio issue debates, she’s more pragmatic and reasonable than her campaign rhetoric or the third-party rhetoric of her supporters. That has given me more respect and trust for her than I initially had. But her supporters are the same anti-capitalist, identity-politic demonstrators that drive me up the wall, and I don’t like how they want to position her or what she goes along with often in her campaign rhetoric. So she’s OK on the council, I’m glad we don’t have somebody really bad but I wish somebody more moderate would emerge, and would have more of a chance in the east Seattle district.

  2. I feel a little less uneasy about ST3’s funding now that Democrats will apparently take the senate.

      1. I expect O’Ban and his ilk will be even louder now. As long as they have access to the media and to certain commentators and shows that pander to them, that is all they need to keep sowing the seeds of resentment among those who feel they got jobbed by ST3.

      2. I’m sure they will be out and loud against ST…but, without the grand theater of an official committee performance (hearing) it will be more background noise than anything else.

    1. I remember seeing an ad on TV early on attacking Manka over ST3. I bet that ad turned off more people.

      Plus the region’s electorate came onboard to transit within the last decade. People are tired of whining about traffic with no solutions which is all the GOP offers for transportation.

    2. You may recall that there were also Democratic bills to take a smaller, but still yuge, portion of funding away from ST this year. Hopefully they will take the message of re-gaining the senate as a mandate to start funding transit instead of a mandate to act Republican-lite.

    3. Watch out for Republicans bribing Democrats to switch sides. They did it before in Washington State, and they have been doing it for a decade in New York State.

  3. As to Seattle Mayor, I wanted Jessyn Farrell. So too did many regional transit advocates. We’d have somebody who’d just show up to Sound Transit Board for the staff to just connect with and get things done for the Seattle we love. Somebody who also in the mold of Lorena Gonzalez and Marilyn Strickland would – knowing North by Northwest Airpower is on tap – stand up to Alex Tsimerman.

    Moving along, at least we won’t have to give another $500 Million in ransom money… so I guess that’s a little victory. I also believe we’ll all miss Jessyn, even those of us who don’t as much as I do yet. I’ll stop there.

    Furthermore, as I mentioned before, in this election one great transit advocate put being on a federated transit board on the ballot in Mukilteo coupled to North by Northwest air superiority. We won four more years of Jennifer Gregerson. But for me, the hard work begins TODAY to get the Future of Flight it’s bus stop – the little stuff like the bus shelters, the launch party, the logistics. I’m not asking for applause, but “good luck” because this “little stuff” you can’t win in the air, but on the ground. Thanks guys.

    1. If you had approval voting in Seattle, Jessyn Farrell would probably have made it into the runoff. She seemed to be “everyone’s second choice”, which is disfavored horribly by the current election system (and also disfavored by “ranked choice voting”, which is a fake reform) but stands a good chance in approval voting.

      1. Actually, being second on a large number of ballots would be huge under a ranked-voting system, assuming you used Condorcet rather than instant-runoff to evaluate those ballots. But either is an improvement over the current system. What’s your beef with ranked voting, exactly?

  4. Congrats to the Durkan campaign!

    Obviously these elections will bring new perspectives and personalities to the Sound Transit Board. I certainly hope that Tacoma’s new mayor will do a far better job of actually attending board meetings than Strickland has.

  5. It will be interesting to see how much shakeup there will be at SDOT. Anyone have any insights on this? Do you think Durkan will keep Kubly around or will we see a lot of turnover like we have with past administrations?

  6. Aren’t RCV or “Approval Voting” outlawed by the State’s “Top-Two” General Election law? For Seattle to do anything progressive about voting, I believe it would have to get the State statute modified.

    Not an easy thing to get a 2/3 vote on.

    1. No. Local governments can choose their own voting system. For example, Pierce County had RCV for a few years before switching back to FPTP.

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