Nov 8, 2023 - Politics

Business-backed Seattle council candidates take early leads

Illustration of a hand placing a ballot in a box.

Illustration: Maura Losch/Axios

In at least three Seattle City Council races in Tuesday's election, centrist candidates who garnered greater support from business interests and third-party PACs had strong leads in early returns.

Meanwhile, the three council incumbents running for re-election were trailing their challengers, but not by insurmountable margins.

Yes, but: With only about half of the ballots counted, it's too early to draw sweeping conclusions.

What's happening: More mailed-in ballots will be tallied in the coming days, clarifying the results.

  • Seattle City Council races have been known to swing by as much as 12 percentage points from the initial results on election night.

Here's where the seven Seattle council races stood as of Tuesday's first count.

District 1: Maren Costa 40.77%, Rob Saka 58.65%

District 2: Tammy Morales (incumbent) 45.33%, Tanya Woo 54.24%

District 3: Joy Hollingsworth 58.28%, Alex Hudson 41.35%

District 4: Ron Davis 44.23%, Maritza Rivera 55.33%

District 5: Cathy Moore 70.14%, ChrisTiana ObeySumner 29.45%

District 6: Pete Hanning 50.75%, Dan Strauss (incumbent) 48.70%

District 7: Bob Kettle 55.79%, Andrew Lewis (incumbent) 43.81%

The big picture: Four Seattle council incumbents aren't running for re-election and a fifth is running for King County Council. That means at least four of nine Seattle council seats ā€” and likely five ā€” will be filled with newcomers next year.

Between the lines: King County election officials are projecting about 40% turnout among registered voters countywide, once all ballots are counted.

  • That's a little lower than in 2021 and 2019, when countywide turnout ended up at roughly 43% and 49%, respectively.
  • In Seattle, turnout tends to trend a few percentage points higher than the rest of the county, Halei Watkins, spokesperson for King County Elections, wrote in an email to Axios.
  • In the last city election in 2021, Seattle voters' turnout was about 27% on election night, but it later rose to almost 55%.

What's next: Another ballot count will be released on Wednesday afternoon.

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