At the Westin hotel downtown, former U.S. attorney Jenny Durkan's message was clear—Seattle would continue to be the pinnacle of the resistance against President Donald Trump with her as the city's new mayor.
Durkan's supporters Tuesday night embraced and cheered on the second floor of the Westin when the count showed Durkan as the clear winner. Durkan is leading over Cary Moon by more than 21 percentage points, a landslide vote with 22,491-vote margin. And in her speech to supporters, she thanked her volunteers and promised to be both a "fierce and gentle" leader for the city.
"That’s the kind of future we will build for Seattle, fierce and gentle," Durkan said. "In this time of Trump, are we going to be fierce? And for our neighbors in need, are we going to be gentle?"
Durkan received 60.6 percent of the votes, while urban planner Cary Moon had just 39.4 percent. That's well under the 45 percent Moon's campaign was hoping for, with an estimated half of the votes in King County counted.
Durkan's election night party hosted a slew of high-profile city and state-elected officials, including Mayor Tim Burgess, state senator Reuven Carlyle, and former governor Christine Gregoire.
"The most qualified capable thoughtful, gracious, progressive, insightful," Carlyle listed, riling up the crowd as results came in, "entrepreneurial, dignified, generous, unbelievably qualified woman, Jenny Durkan, 60 percent!"
But despite the huge gap, Moon didn't concede Tuesday night; she's still holding out hope that late, historically more left-leaning votes turn out in her favor. The Moon campaign said they expect there to be at least 100,000 ballots entered yesterday and today that will not be counted until 9am Wednesday to close the gap.
About 100 of her supporters filled Old Stove Brewing, where Moon acknowledged her campaign is up against tough odds. More than 23 percent of votes have been counted, about half of what King County Elections is expecting for the general election.
"Ballot counts may swing in our direction—will swing in our direction over the next few days, and we are not out of this yet," Moon said. "Seattle voters won’t let the future of our city be sunk by status quo thinking and politics as usual."
Durkan easily made it through the August primary with 27.9 percent of the votes. Moon narrowly made it in second place with 17.6 percent, securing her seat in the general election from attorney, activist and educator Nikkita Oliver, who received 17 percent.
When asked whether she regretted spending her own money on the campaign, Moon told PubliCola she welcomes a good working relationship with Oliver but doesn't regret the spending that got her through the primary.
"I feel a tremendous responsibility to use every single resource I have, power, energy, money for good because there's so much at stake," Moon said. "It has been worth it to me to invest resources in the future of our city."
It's been a historic election for more reasons than one. It's the first time since 1926 that Seattle will elect a female mayor; Bertha Knight Landes was not only the sole woman to be in Seattle's executive office, but also the only woman who made it through the primary until Durkan and Moon.
Durkan also raised a historic amount for a Seattle mayoral race: around $1 million ($970,300, according to the Public Disclosure Commission) and $830,400 in independent expenditures from business and hospitality political arms. Her average contribution was $235 from more than 4,100 donors, and endorsements from the Martin Luther King County Labor Council and SEIU 775 also brought in the power of labor.
Moon raised $358,300, according to the PDC, about half of which came out of her own pocket. The average contribution for her campaign was $174 from more than 1,000 donors.