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Big Election For Incumbents – And Women – In Seattle City Council Races

District 7 candidate Sally Bagshaw watches a screen for the first results of the election on Tuesday night, discovering that she was leading her opponent 80 percent to 19 percent.
KUOW Photo/Kara McDermott
District 7 candidate Sally Bagshaw watches a screen for the first results of the election on Tuesday night, discovering that she was leading her opponent 80 percent to 19 percent.

All five Seattle City Council incumbents running for election to new districts were ahead of their opponents after the second batch of returns came in on Wednesday.

And though most of those incumbents were men, overall women will be a majority on the reconstituted council.

The incumbents are Bruce Harrell in District 2, Kshama Sawant in District 3, Mike O'Brien in District 6, Sally Bagshaw in District 7, Tim Burgess for at-large Position 8. Here's a look at all the races:

District 1

Shannon Braddock 52 percent, Lisa Herbold 47 percent.

This was a fight for the open seat to represent West Seattle.

Herbold has been an aide to Councilmember Nick Licata since the late 1990s. She’s a native New Yorker who moved to Seattle to open an office for ACORN, the now-defunct progressive advocacy group.

Braddock is a legislative aide. She works for Joe McDermott on the King County Council.

Before the primary, constituents spoke about parking problems and the district’s geographic isolation. Some residents feel West Seattle has been ignored at city hall. At a couple points in history, West Seattleites have raised the idea of seceding from Seattle. 

District 2

Incumbent Bruce Harrell 54 percent, Tammy Morales 46 percent.

“There’s a fundamental difference – I actually have experience in public safety and she doesn’t,” Harrell said in a recent debate on KUOW.

Morales fired back: “We’ve had numerous shootings in the last year, he is the chair of the public safety committee, the chair of the civil rights committee, and he has not had a single hearing.”

District 2 extends south from Mount Baker and Sodo to include Rainier Beach and Seward Park. It’s the city’s only district where there are more people of color than whites – or “majority-minority.” 

[asset-images[{"caption": "City Councilmember Kshama Sawant speaks at her election night party at Melrose Market in Seattle on Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2015.", "fid": "121936", "style": "placed_wide", "uri": "public://201511/20151103-kshama-sawant.jpg", "attribution": "Credit KUOW Photo/Liz Jones"}]]District 3

Incumbent Kshama Sawant 53 percent, Pamela Banks 47 percent.

"We have accomplished something historic. We have had an open Socialist re-elected to City Council," Sawant told an election-party crowd Tuesday night.

In a recent tense debate on KUOW, Sawant and Banks had squared off over who is better able to represent people in the Central Area, which at one time was majority African American.

Banks, who is African American, argued that she had raised a son in the Central District. Sawant noted her own push for a $15-an-hour minimum wage in Seattle.

District 4

Rob Johnson 54 percent, Michael Maddux 45 percent.

The district stretches from Lake Union to Sand Point andincludes the University District, where businesses have struggled for years, despite the presence of the University of Washington and efforts to revitalize the area.

Johnson and Maddux may have been opponents, but they got along on the campaign trail like BFFs. They carpooled to events together, and other candidates said they passed notes to each other on stage. During a recent debate at KUOW, they spent more time agreeing than disagreeing.

District 5

Debora Juarez 64 percent, Sandy Brown 36 percent.

The two vying to represent North Seattle weren’t your typical candidates. Brown is an ordained Methodist minister who lives off Aurora Avenue North. Juarez, a former public defender, grew up on the Puyallup Reservation in Tacoma.

This district encompassing North Seattle stretches from Puget Sound to Lake Washington. Big issues include a paucity of sidewalks in Lake City and elsewhere, how recent immigrants can fit in around Northgate, and environmental concerns in the area around Carkeek Park.

District 6

Incumbent Mike O’Brien 59 percent, Catherine Weatbrook 40 percent.

This is one of Seattle’s most stridently liberal corners, where high percentages of parents don't vaccinate their children and there’s a Lenin statue (also a Leif Erikson statue and this giant lawn robot).

In a KUOW debate, Weatbrook and O’Brien disagreed on two issues: the $930 million Move Seattle levy and a tent city for homeless people that is scheduled to go up on Market Street in Ballard. Weatbrook said the levy is too expensive. O’Brien agreed levies aren't ideal but said the city is hamstrung by strict state tax law.

Regarding the tent city, Weatbrook said she didn’t like the process. O’Brien said the Market Street site was one of the few that would work.

District 7

Incumbent Sally Bagshaw 81 percent, Deborah Zech Artis 19 percent.

The district includes downtown, Belltown, Queen Anne and Magnolia. Bagshaw lives downtown; Zech Artis lives on Queen Anne. Both agreed that traffic is miserable in their part of the city.

They differed in substantial ways. Zech Artis didn't support the $930 million Move Seattle transportation levy. She said she doesn’t believe the city has specified enough where the money would go.

Bagshaw supported the levy and noted there have been more than 9,000 public comments.

“If you look at the over 100-page program itself, there are very specific line items, things like seven new bus RapidRide transit lines,” she said. “The 150 blocks of sidewalks – those are identified.”

[asset-images[{"caption": "Tim Burgess answers reporter questions soon after getting favorable results in his race Tuesday night.", "fid": "121941", "style": "placed_wide", "uri": "public://201511/timburgess.jpg", "attribution": "Credit KUOW Photo/Kara McDermott"}]]

Position 8 (At Large)

Council President Tim Burgess 58 percent, Jon Grant 42 percent. 

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. He was part of a tide of younger and more liberal candidates vying for a spot on the City Council.

In a KUOW debate, the candidates positioned themselves as the play-well-with-others incumbent (Burgess) and the hard-charging challenger (Grant).

[asset-images[{"caption": "Lorena Gonzalez was far ahead of Bill Bradburd in the race for at-large Position 9 on the Seattle City Council.", "fid": "121940", "style": "placed_wide", "uri": "public://201511/lorenagonzalez.jpg", "attribution": "Credit KUOW Photo/Kara McDermott"}]]

Position 9 (At Large)

Lorena González 76 percent, Bill Bradburd 23 percent.

González will be the first Latina on the council.

Bradburd had the support of a handful of Democrat leaders. He calls himself an artist, musician and community activist who has focused on neighborhood zoning.

González touted herself as a former civil rights attorney. She worked as an adviser for Mayor Ed Murray for 11 months and has spent the last nine months campaigning. She has the support of 20 labor unions and the mayor.

Produced for the Web by Gil Aegerter.