1. There was a second vote count yesterday afternoon—King County added in the results of another 26,000 ballots (of the more than 70,000 that have come in since the original batch counted on election night—on the way to a projected 140,000 or about 30 percent turnout.)
Some things to report: In District Four (the U. District/Wedgwood), longtime city council incumbent Jean Godden fell further behind her two progressive challengers, Transportation Choices Coalition leader Rob Johnson (who’s in first with 33.66 percent) and Democratic Party activist Michael Maddux (in second at 23.13 percent.) Godden, who talked about her third place finish with independent reporter Robert Mak on Tuesday night, fell from just over 21 percent on election night to just below at 20.87 percent after the second count. With later counts tending to be more progressive, Godden’s chances of making it into the top two now seem increasingly unlikely.
In District Three (Capitol Hill, Central Area, and Madison Valley), socialist city council incumbent Kshama Sawant edged from 49.96 to just over 50 percent at 50.47 overall (with a much stronger showing in the latest batch, about 55 percent.) The second place finisher, out of five candidates, Urban League leader Pamela Banks, is at 34.96 percent.
Expect Sawant’s number to keep rising in the next two counts, but Banks’s score shouldn’t be dismissed. Even by Sawant’s own standards, Banks is doing well. Here’s what Socialist Alternative newspaper writer Calvin Priest (Sawant's fiance) said about Sawant’s primary night numbers in 2013 when Sawant herself finished in second place:
In the August primary election for Seattle City Council, Socialist Alternative candidate Kshama Sawant won a stunning 35 percent of the vote in a three-way race against two Democratic Party candidates.
Sawant’s new numbers mean the only incumbent under 50 percent now is council president Tim Burgess whose number dropped in yesterday’s count—going from 48.34 to 47.56. Second-place finisher, tenants rights leader Jon Grant, nudged up from 28.36 to 29.12. (Third place finisher, rock singer John Roderick sent out a concession letter last night.)
District One (West Seattle), featured a lead change between the first night’s count and yesterday’s count: Nick Licata aide Lisa Herbold moved from second to first place; she’s now besting Joe McDermott aide Shannon Braddock 28.56 to 28.23. (On Monday night, Braddock was ahead 28.59 to 27.44.)
2. Herbold’s first place finish means we have to update our snap metrics. While schmancy political consultant Christian Sinderman still fielded a candidate who made it through to November’s top two final in eight of the nine races, Braddock’s second place showing means Sinderman finished with one less candidate (five instead of six) in first place.
Which brings us to a metric I’d like to add to yesterday’s list of election night filters: The John Wyble Metric. Political consultant Wyble, a former Sinderman rival, then partner, and now rival again, is behind two of the election’s biggest surprises: Jon Grant’s solid second place finish against incumbent Burgess and Maddux’s leap into the second round.
While it became increasingly clear that Grant (with his laser focus on tenants’ rights and affordable housing) was likely to edge out Roderick (whose desultory and off-the-cuff theories sank his endorsement scorecard…I tried, but couldn’t quite make sense of the chatty candidate), it wasn’t clear that Grant would best mini-local celeb Roderick by nearly 15 percentage points. Grant raised just $40,000 to Roderick’s $100,000. I don’t know if Wyble had anything to do with Grant’s brilliant move to have Jimmy McMillan (the instant celebrity “Rent is Too Damn High” candidate from New York’s 2010 governor’s race) headline his kickoff, but that energetic move was the first sign that media savvy Grant was on his way.
And then there’s Maddux, a sharp thinker and dedicated activist, but who headed into the race with a reputation as an unpredictable wise guy. Again, I don’t know exactly how much Wyble had to do with it: but Maddux was an increasingly crisp candidate throughout the race, racking up some key endorsements (speaker of the house Frank Chopp, the Stranger, NARAL…big in a race against Godden) along the way.
3. Finally, one other update: As the later progressive ballots come in, Lorena Gonzalez piled on, edging up to 64.23 (from 63.72 on Tuesday night.) Her opponent Bill Bradburd slipped to 15.12 percent.
While Cola reporter Josh Kelety claims I sent him to cover the Bradburd event on Tuesday, truth is, he spoke up late Tuesday afternoon—with kind of a gleam in his eye—“I’m thinking I’d like to see what’s up at the Bradburd party.”
Here’s Kelety’s account:
On the evening of the primary election, my heartless editor sicced me on Bill Bradburd’s election night party. For those who don’t know, Bradburd is a candidate for at-large city council seat Position Nine. He’s also an avid neighborhood activist, micro-housing critic, and die-hard protector of Seattle’s seemingly untouchable single-family zones. Basically he represents everything that sends we here at PubliCola banging our heads against the wall.
He was also one the of two frontrunners in the District Nine city-wide seat alongside former OneAmerica civil rights attorney Lorena Gonzalez. His frontrunner status tumbled to distant second place on election night, though. The current spread has Bradburd at 15 percent to Gonzalez’s blow out 64 percent.
The candidate attracts an interesting crossover of folks from both left-leaning populist and NIMBY anti-development crowds who collectively turn red as beets with rage at the prospect of those “canyons of darkness” created by high density housing and arrogant developers.
I was intrigued by the scene I’d find at Bradburd’s election night party at the Columbia City Theater on Rainier Avenue.
The venue itself is great—think small, high ceiling theater that’d make for some intimate concerts adjacent to a watering hole with a beautiful, craftsman wood bar (the smattering of Bradburd’s blue and green “Take back Seattle!” campaign signs did mess with “character” of the place, though.)
Bradburd’s party was poorly attended (maybe it was because the booze wasn’t free?) At its peak the party garnered around twenty people, mostly hovering around seven to 15 folks. The handful of supporters were mostly white, older and ready to get their groove on to Polyrhythmics, a local brassy funk band. (In hindsight now, I probably mistook some members of the the eight-person musical ensemble for Bradburd supporters.) There were some younger, anti-establishment looking faces who seemed stoked to see some kick ass funk. There weren’t droves of the Ballard NIMBYS (the ones who shriek at City Hall during PLUS committee hearings) to my disappointment. Overall: very subdued.
The candidate himself didn’t roll in until 7:45. He received a semi-slurred welcome at the bar from those giving their noses a bath in their beers before making a beeline towards a couple of reporters.
Nothing interesting happened until the ballot drop at 8:15, when a big screen on the stage delivered the bad news for all to see (most of the small crowd, buried whatever sorrow they had at the snack table). Upon seeing the results, Bradburd made the rounds among his supporters, presumably to receive conciliation and to see if there was any positive spin on the miles-wide margin. “I’m shell-shocked” was the line he kept repeating.
I caught up with Bradburd to see how he was taking the blow and why he thinks he did so poorly. He was a little all over the place (he said he was “scattered” due to the results), but admitted the challenge he faces going into the general. He attributed the margin to Gonzalez’s long list of endorsements and the political establishment. “She's obviously endorsed by all the powers that be. She's got the downtown chamber and the police officers guild and the commercial development interests,” Bradburd said. “Our challenge is countering the establishment forces and the leverage that she has...we're measuring my ability to get my message out to people versus the establishment.”
When I pressed him on whether he thinks policy differences contributed to the results (Gonzalez is a density proponent), he beat around the bush. “It's not clear where she [Gonzalez] stands on a lot of issues. She doesn't publicly say on her website where she stands. And she uses vague language like ‘I love progressive values.’”
He said more people would have factored the controversy surrounding the HALA recommendations—which he despises—into their votes (i.e votes for him), if they had dropped a few weeks earlier.
He said his campaign would be drafting some “white papers” on his housing policy of cultivating backyard cottages in single-family zones while directing growth and density into urban villages. “The best way to have affordability is to keep existing housing stock,” he said.
Periodically during our conversation, guest would sidle up to Bradburd to tell him they were taking off. One asked Bradburd if he was going to give a speech. “Oh I don't know. Maybe we'll just let the band play,” he responded.
He did eventually make it up on stage where he addressed a sad, mostly empty theater hall. “I feel like I’m all alone up here,” he said (seemingly half joking). Bradburd thanked his die-hard loyalists, campaign staff and advisers, and stressed the need for renewed vigor in fundraising and outreach to voters, before hopping off to let Polyrhythmics do their thing.
His summary of his platform and message got some cheers, mainly the “make developers pay” bit.