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Nikkita Oliver: Unlike 'wealthy white women' left in race, policy affects us

Nikkita Oliver, surrounded by supporters, declares 3rd place in Seattle's mayoral race a victory
KUOW Photo/Kate Walters
Nikkita Oliver, surrounded by supporters, declares 3rd place in Seattle's mayoral race a victory.

The campaign for Seattle mayor is over for attorney and educator Nikkita Oliver. Final ballot results show Cary Moon and Jenny Durkan are the two candidates moving on to the November general election.

Moon beat Oliver into the top two by only 1,170 votes. But Oliver doesn't count her third place finish as a loss. Instead, she said Tuesday that her showing in the primaries is cause for celebration. 

"We declare this a victory, we declare it a win,” Oliver said. “We will continue to be engaged throughout the general election because we want to ensure that all candidates, in every race in this city, are held accountable to honoring the needs of the most vulnerable in our city."

Oliver built an enthusiastic movement through her campaign. She said Tuesday that she marked her success by the 1,400 volunteers and more than 31,000 votes that she received.

"We've changed the conversation. What we were able to show is that as a community, when we organize and dig deep, we thrive. We have the opportunity to shape the narrative," Oliver said in a statement.

"Unlike the wealthy white women who are left in the race, the policy outcomes affect us directly. And it's important that we now have wealthy and white folks acknowledging that income inequality exists largely along racial lines — that when we talk about racial equity, people of color have to be at the forefront of that change.

"Unlike the other campaigns, we don't need to talk about the issues from a 30,000-foot view because we are renters, workers, the disproportionately affected communities Seattle progressives talk about so often."

Oliver said her campaign might be over, but there's still a lot left to do. And she and the Seattle People’s Party plan to stay involved.

[asset-images[{"caption": "Nikkita Oliver, Jenny Durkan, and Cary Moon", "fid": "138284", "style": "card_280", "uri": "public://201708/Untitled-1.jpg", "attribution": "Credit KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer "}]]They plan to host public listening sessions, a mayoral forum (hosted by Oliver), and bring policy ideas to the table around homelessness, affordable housing and police reform.

But one thing Oliver said she's not ready to do at this point is endorse either Durkan or Moon for mayor.

"When we look at endorsements they, especially in this election, would be giving support to candidates who have not shown their commitment to communities that they often talk about. And there is no clear mechanism for accountability. So I think really what we need to do is begin to change the game."

Oliver said the candidates need to earn endorsements.

Statements from both Moon and Durkan say they'll work hard to earn the trust and backing of voters.

In part, Durkan’s statement said:

"Nikkita Oliver ran a great campaign. She brought not just her powerful voice to the discussion but brought in and amplified the voices, dreams, and pain of those who have been shut out of the opportunities and prosperity of our city.” "For those who didn't support me, I'll work hard to earn your support. I fundamentally believe that the next mayor has the moral challenge and deep responsibility to address inequities facing our city. I am committed to ensuring the marginalized and most vulnerable are part of the promise of Seattle. Seattle's next mayor must be a leader who listens to all communities, brings people together, and gets things done. We have to come together to close the gaps in our city."

And here is part of Moon’s statement:

“The People's Party and Nikkita Oliver's campaign amplified the voices of those who often feel Seattle is no longer for them, and engaged thousands across Seattle in this important election. Our city is stronger for their work. I am inspired to hear the People's Party will continue to grow in power and engage in local politics. I hope to earn the trust and support of every Seattle voter ready to boldly re-envision a City Hall that makes a difference in people’s lives through inclusive, accountable leadership. My experience working in coalition, my deep roots in civic advocacy, and my 20 years of experience building solutions to the very challenges Seattle faces are the leadership skills our city needs now.”

Oliver said she’ll encourage her supporters to stay involved.

Election rules say Oliver is not allowed to run a write-in campaign for the general election after losing in the primary. But she did not rule out the possibility of the Seattle People's Party fielding another candidate for a write-in mayoral candidate come November. 

Year started with KUOW: 2015