1. Socialist candidate Kshama Sawant, who isn't conceding in her tight race against city council member Richard Conlin, brought in 54.2 percent overall in yesterday's two vote drops (including 55.8 percent in the last batch), putting her within reach of defeating the 16-year incumbent, with a total vote margin of 51.53 to 48.26. The latest drops represent a huge leap from Sawant's election-night total of 46.3 percent to Conlin's 53.56 percent, and a consistent upward trend for Sawant.
The bottom line: If Sawant wins just under 54 percent of the remaining vote, she can win the race. Conlin, who's 65, has said he plans to retire in 2015, when all council members will be required to run again for reelection under the new districted system voters approved on Tuesday.
Of course, Sawant would—like all the other council members—have to run again under the newly districted city council system in 2015; her district, District 3, includes Madrona, Capitol Hill (where she lives), and Montlake.
2. As we reported yesterday, Mayor-elect Ed Murray announced that his transition team will be headed up by two seasoned city of Seattle veterans: Former council member Martha Choe, for whom Murray used to work as a council aide, and ex-city budget director Dwight Dively, an enormously popular figure who left for King County after McGinn demoted him early in his term.
But we were also wondering what would become of Murray's husband Michael Shiosaki, who works as the planning and development division director at the Seattle Parks Department. Since Murray will now be, effectively, Shiosaki's boss, will he feel compelled to leave the city? Murray's campaign consultant, Sandeep Kaushik, says no; Kaushik says Murray will put safeguards in place so that there's no appearance of preferential treatment or a conflict of interest with his husband working in the administration.
3. With district council elections on the horizon, (sometimes wild—so take these rumored names with a big pinch of salt) speculation has already started about who will run for each of the seven new geographic districts.
Two council positions will remain at-large and are likely to be sought by council members who live in districts that overlap with other council members' new home bases, such as Sally Clark and Tim Burgess, whose new 2nd and 7th Districts would put them in competition with, respectively, Sally Bagshaw and Bruce Harrell if they decided to run in their districts.
If he is reelected, Richard Conlin has said he'll retire in two years, and Nick Licata, whose district now overlaps with Mike O'Brien's, told PubliCola he'd "like to serve out the four years [he] was elected to" this year, which isn't an option anymore, with all council members required to run again in 2015.
In addition to Sawant, who has announced that she plans to run in District 3 whether she beats Conlin or not, here are some of the names floating around as potential candidates:
District 2 (including Mount Baker, Columbia City, Georgetown, and Seward Park): State Rep. Eric Pettigrew, who represents the 37th district; state Rep. Sharon Tomiko Santos, who also represents the 37th; and neighborhood activist (and Sally Bagshaw aide) Kathy Nyland. Currently, city council members Sally Clark and Bruce Harrell both live in the new 2nd District.
District 3: Former two-time city council candidate and Seattle Parks Department employee Bobby Forch is rumored to be considering a run; currently, Conlin is the only council member who lives in the district.
District 4 (including Ravenna, Laurelhurst, Wedgwood, and the University District): Former city council member Peter Steinbrueck has been mentioned as a possibility; currently, council member Jean Godden is the only council member who lives in the district.
District 5 (including Northgate, Lake City, and Maple Leaf): Possibilities include Maple Leaf neighborhood activist David Miller, 46th District Democrats activist Javier Valdez, who sought the state house seat that was vacated by Democrat David Frockt when he went to the state senate; onetime city council candidate and current Pacific Merchant Shipping Association spokesman Jordan Royer; and onetime 36th District state house candidate Noel Frame.
No current council members live in the new 5th District, and Tom Rasmussen is the only current council member who lives in the new West Seattle/White Center 1st District.