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Liberal Tide Takes On Moderate Incumbent In Seattle Council Race

Seattle City Council position 8 candidates Jon Grant and Tim Burgess.
KUOW Photo/Isolde Raftery
Seattle City Council position 8 candidates Jon Grant and Tim Burgess.

Standing outside the KUOW station, we asked Seattle City Council candidate Jon Grant what he would do if he lost.

He would pay off his debt, he said. Then he paused.

Did we know that 54 percent of the city voted against his opponent in the primary? (Grant got 31 percent in the primary.)

His opponent is sitting City Council President Tim Burgess. Burgess, a former patrol officer and white collar crimes detective, has been on the council for eight years.

Grant is the former head of the Tenants Union of Washington State. Burgess calls him “an ideologically driven mouthpiece,” but that doesn’t quite fit the image that Grant presents. At first blush, he could be Ricky Gervais's more serious younger brother. He’s part of a tide of younger and more liberal candidates vying for a spot on the City Council.

KUOW’s Bill Radke hosted a debate between Grant and Burgess. The candidates positioned themselves as the play-well-with-others incumbent (Burgess) and the hard-charging challenger (Grant).

“We want to elect people to the City Council who share our values but also know how to work with others, to get things done,” Burgess said. “That's what my track record on the council shows, and that’s what I want to continue to do.”

[asset-images[{"caption": "", "fid": "121760", "style": "placed_wide", "uri": "public://201510/Card-Burgess1_0.jpg", "attribution": ""}]]Grant interjected: “This is exactly the kind of thing that voters are tired of hearing,” he said. “Politicians saying,'You know what, we came to this compromise and that should be good enough for you and you should accept it.’”

Related: Seattle has been quietly building affordable housing in your neighborhood

[asset-images[{"caption": "", "fid": "121762", "style": "placed_wide", "uri": "public://201510/Card-Grant.jpg", "attribution": ""}]]

They were talking about a committee Mayor Ed Murray formed on affordable housing in Seattle. Burgess and Grant were both on the committee. Grant lamented that roughly half the committee was made up of developers – and that he believes the city left hundreds of millions on the table.

Radke gave Burgess the final word.

“You can expect the same thing that you've seen over the last eight years,” he said, “Bringing people together to get things done for our community for our region and doing that in a way that moves the ball rather than just rhetoric and promises.”

Listen to the full debate moderated by KUOW's Bill Radke:

Year started with KUOW: 2012
Year started with KUOW: 1985 – 1986, 1991 – 2004, 2012