More ballot counts Thursday further solidified Cary Moon's second-place lead over Nikkita Oliver in the mayor's race—making it clearer that she'll likely be the one to advance to the November 8 general election alongside Jenny Durkan.
The question was whether later ballots would tilt more in Oliver's favor, since historically Seattle's late voters also tended to help the more progressive candidate. So far both Moon and Oliver gained about the same amount of momentum. But Moon isn't declaring victory yet; and Oliver supporters are tracking down their ballots to make sure their votes were counted, and not one of the thousands disqualified for no or poorly written signatures.
King County counted another 37,921 ballots from Seattle on Thursday, and they gave both Moon and Oliver a bigger percentage. In total, nearly 143,000 Seattle ballots have been counted with about 30,000 more to count tomorrow, and they'll almost exclusively be ballots from drop boxes.
Moon's lead over Oliver extended from a 1,978- to a 2,578-vote margin, but percentage-wise, they both gained votes comparably. (The percentage point difference between the two candidates didn't change much.)
Results as of 4:30pm Thursday:
- Jenny Durkan: 30.2%
- Cary Moon: 16.7%
- Nikkita Oliver: 14.9%
- Jessyn Farrell: 12.4%
- Bob Hasegawa: 8.6%
- Mike McGinn: 6.7%
Durkan's support dropped slightly at 30.2 percent of the votes—regardless of whether it's Moon or Oliver, Durkan's going to have a much tougher battle to be the frontrunner in the general election. That is, if voters currently supporting other progressive candidates will opt for the "non-establishment" challenger who's not endorsed by Mayor Ed Murray as he still faces serious allegations of child rape.
Moon made it clear she doesn't want Durkan to be mayor—in a statement today, she said she was encouraged 60 percent of voters chose someone "not backed by big corporations and City Hall insiders," and told PubliCola she'd gladly put her weight behind Oliver if she were to pull ahead. Durkan, who's backed by Chamber and already raised $491,100, still has the clear financial advantage. She's spent $391,200 already and had $116,000 contributed in independent expenditures by businesses. There will be a new group of voters who didn't vote in the primary election (and may not have known it was happening), but will vote in the general.
Moon contributed $90,500 to her own campaign—in past interviews she hasn't indicated whether she has a limit—and only raised $61,500, so the question now is whether she could garner support from the remaining voters she couldn't win over this time around. She's more likely to get Farrell's votes; they had similar platforms and values, and were stronger on the urbanist draw than other candidates. (Though Farrell's voters could also be drawn to more political experience in Durkan.) But those who voted for Oliver may not turn out with the same kind of enthusiasm for someone else. It will be tough for Moon to get the same kind of support from voters who were inspired and energized by Oliver's campaign.
Updated August 4, 2017, at 12:40pm: This includes a new statement from Nikkita Oliver and includes the point that Durkan could also draw Jessyn Farrell's voters who want more political experience.