Seattle city council member Mike O'Brien finally announced his endorsement for mayor Friday: He's casting his vote for Nikkita Oliver.
"There are a lot of candidates running for mayor this year, including some close friends of mine who would make good mayors," O'Brien said in a video released by Oliver's campaign Friday. "But the challenges and opportunities in front of the city of Seattle require a new type of leadership that only Nikkita Oliver can bring to our city...We need a mayor who's going to reject the status quo and bring a new vision to the city of Seattle."
O'Brien has long been an ally to former mayor Mike McGinn; they worked together at the Stokes Lawrence law firm and the Sierra Club, and O’Brien was the only council member who took McGinn's side against the Alaskan Way tunneling project in 2011. It became clear O'Brien didn't plan on endorsing McGinn when Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission reports showed O'Brien donated to both Oliver and urban planner Cary Moon campaigns; but he didn't announce any commitments up until now.
O'Brien is the second council member to support Oliver—a civil rights attorney and social justice activist—after Kshama Sawant's Socialist Alternative party announced its endorsement in May. In a released statement Friday, he praised Oliver for entering the race against Murray long before other high-profile candidates did; he said she'd stand up for "vulnerable communities" as they struggle with housing affordability, homelessness, and accountability. He brought up people of color as victims of police violence and lack of access to affordable public transit.
"At that time, most of us career politicians felt she did not have a chance," O'Brien said. "We admired her courage and positions but understood that no one could reasonably win against such a well-funded incumbent. Yet when no one else was willing, Nikkita was."
Former U.S. attorney Jenny Durkan still has the most endorsements from Seattle City Council as well as mayor Ed Murray's support. Durkan's campaign announced Bruce Harrell's endorsement Thursday; that makes four, after Sally Bagshaw, Tim Burgess, and Debora Juarez (all former Murray endorsements).
"Jenny is an accomplished leader, a civil rights champion, a community builder, and a person who gets things done," Harrell said in a statement on the Durkan campaign's Facebook page. "I have known Jenny since law school. She has been a great partner to me, and I am proud to endorse her for mayor."
Rob Johnson endorsed former state legislator Jessyn Farrell last month. (Both were former leaders of the Transportation Choices Coalition.) Lisa Herbold and Lorena González—who made a last-minute decision not to run for mayor herself—haven't endorsed anyone. Herbold told PubliCola she doesn't plan on doing so, at least until after the primary.