Mayor's Race 2017

Nikkita Oliver: Despite Third-Place Finish, "We Declare This a Victory"

Jenny Durkan and Cary Moon both said they would work hard to earn the support of those who didn't vote for them.

By Hayat Norimine August 15, 2017

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With official certified results, King County Elections confirmed former U.S. attorney Jenny Durkan and urban planner Cary Moon will be facing off in the November 7 general election. 

"For those who didn't support me, I'll work hard to earn your support," said Durkan, who cruised through the primary with 27.9 percent of the votes. "Equality, civil rights, criminal justice reform, police accountability—these have been the fights of my career, and if I have the opportunity to serve as mayor, I will fight every day to put our progressive values into action."

Both Durkan and Moon released their statements Tuesday only after educator and attorney Nikkita Oliver held a press conference Tuesday at Washington Hall, where Oliver hailed the Peoples Party's campaign to be a victory despite her third-place finish in the race. She brought social justice issues to the forefront, she said, and made it an integral part of the debates. Both Durkan and Moon in statements credited Oliver for amplifying voices disenfranchised with the political process and said they hoped to earn those voters' trust. 

Moon held her narrow second-place lead with a 1,170-vote margin against Oliver and 17.6 percent of votes. Oliver had 17 percent.

"This moment calls for an effective change maker, someone with the independence and courage to lead the transformation we so badly need," Moon said in her statement Tuesday. "I am ready to fight for our future, stand up to powerful special interests, resist the Trump agenda, and serve the people as Seattle’s next mayor."

Oliver—who has said her party's movement started in light of President Donald Trump's election—addressed the racist violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, and said it's been "an incredibly challenging week for a lot of people." She said the Peoples Party's movement was only the beginning regardless of election results and outlined other campaigns the party plans to remain involved in, like Initiative 940 (De-Escalate Washington) and defending affirmative action in the state. Her core of supporters behind her holding campaign signs included the attorney representing part of the family of Charleena Lyles, a 30-year-old black mother of four who was fatally shot by police in June. 

"A lot of people have been asking me how I feel," Oliver said. "I want to say I feel inspired, and I feel humbled, and I feel very honored to have the opportunity to be the first candidate of the Seattle Peoples Party. And I believe we have a lot to celebrate." 

As for the mayor's race, Oliver said the she said the Peoples Party also wants to hold a mayoral candidate forum at Washington Hall, where Oliver plans on moderating. But Oliver said the Peoples Party does not plan on endorsing Moon and criticized her for not being a presence among the disenfranchised—like people of color or the disabilities community.

She said she wants to keep her supporters engaged in the political process and wouldn't rule out another write-in candidate for the Peoples Party. When asked about regrets, Oliver pointed to Moon self-financing $90,500, and said Moon poured her own money into her campaign while talking about income inequality. 

"If I regret anything, it's not calling that out sooner," Oliver said. 

With Oliver out of the race, some from communities of color who have been advocating for more police accountability said they have yet to feel drawn to either Durkan or Moon.

As a former U.S. attorney when the Department of Justice sued the city on biased policing, Durkan was a key player in police reform when Mike McGinn was mayor—but recent deaths at the hands of officers have reignited the demand for more civilian power to investigate police and a path to prosecute officers for deadly force. 

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