In December, Jenny Durkan announced that she would not seek a second term as mayor of Seattle. Weeks of speculation about potential replacements followed. But 2021 has brought more clarity. While none of our Very Serious candidates have yet entered the race, a bunch of others have. Here's who's running for mayor of Seattle this year (in alphabetical order).
Henry Clay Dennison
The Socialist Workers Party candidate for governor in 2020 has put his name in for Seattle's top post. Dennison is a rail worker and member of the SMART-TD union; he's also worked as a coal miner in Alabama and West Virginia.
Dennison strives to unify the working class against racism and police violence, in defense of women’s right to choose abortion, and in support of immigrant workers in the U.S. He backs worker demands in response to what his party views as the crisis of capitalism.
You can learn more about his political stances in this interview.
The former SuperSonic is running for mayor again after an unsuccessful bid in 2009. Following his retirement from basketball, Donaldson started a physical therapy clinic. He's since focused on speaking (and writing) about mental health awareness and suicide prevention.
Donaldson doesn't believe Seattle can accept the "status quo" anymore. He wants the city to address the root causes of the homelessness crisis and find sustainable housing solutions; he feels that sheltered encampments in parks and streets should not be allowed. Bringing back jobs to downtown is a priority for Donaldson, as it will allow local city government to focus on "parks, roads, a thriving downtown, and helping our neighbors."
You can learn more about Donaldson's campaign here.
The executive director of Chief Seattle Club, a nonprofit day center and human services agency supporting American Indian and Alaska Native people, announced her candidacy in late January. She's an enrolled member of the Kithehaki Band of the Pawnee Nation and a member of the Upper Athabascan people of Mentasta Lake.
As the founder of the Coalition to End Urban Indigenous Homelessness, Echohawk has made affordable housing and rezoning a focus of her campaign. She seeks investment in community-led businesses and organizations to help stem health and economic inequality that's been exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic. And she wants to establish a "Public Safety Department with community-based mental health workers and neighborhood liaisons to care for the members of our community that have been hit hardest by racial injustice and the Covid-19 pandemic."
You can learn more about Echohawk's campaign here.
The former state legislator has decided to vie for Seattle’s top political post again. In 2017, she finished fourth in a primary. She’s currently a senior vice president at Civic Ventures, a think tank. She graduated from the University of Washington and Boston College Law School.
Farrell’s platform includes universal childcare through age 5 and a focus on affordable housing. Small businesses and workers are priorities; she aims to bring portable benefits to those currently without those options. And as a former executive director of nonprofit Transportation Choices Coalition, transit improvements (see: West Seattle Bridge) are on her mind too.
You can learn more about Farrell’s campaign here.
M. Lorena González
The Seattle City Council president officially entered the race in early February. González grew up in Central Washington in a migrant farm-working family. Before her election to the council in 2015, she worked as a civil rights attorney. She received her law degree from Seattle University.
González's campaign centers on economic and social justice. She believes Seattle's future neighborhoods should be diverse and "complete," comprising parks, grocery stores, community spaces, daycare centers, school, and affordable arts and entertainment options. Housing should be affordable to all, with pathways to permanent residences for those without homes. Policing should be "demilitarized," and measures to counter climate change should bolster economies in overlooked communities.
You can learn more about González's campaign here.
In March, the former Seattle City Council president announced his campaign via an "open letter" to the city. The Garfield High School and University of Washington graduate served for five days in the city's top post after Ed Murray's resignation in 2017. Four years earlier, Harrell finished behind Murray and others in the race to unseat mayor Mike McGinn.
In his letter, Harrell says that helping small and minority-owned businesses, providing affordable citywide health care, making direct neighborhood investments, creating a jobs center, and supporting the arts are all central to the city's economic recovery. He advocates for police reform centered on training rather than budgets. And his approach to the homelessness crisis would include the formation of a nonprofit partnership that allows businesses and residents to contribute time and money to the cause.
You can learn more about Harrell's campaign here.
The founder of nonprofit Balance Due joined the field in February. Holt describes himself as a minister, war veteran, and American Legion member.
Holt's platform is pro-business, he says. Building partnerships with some of Seattle's major companies will be a priority of his campaign. But his focus is on solving the city's most pressing problems, including homelessness and economic inequality.
You can learn more about Holt's campaign here.
Andrew Grant Houston
The interim policy manager for council member Teresa Mosqueda declared his candidacy in the early days of 2021. Houston's campaign announcement describes him as a queer Black and Latino architect, small business owner, and activist who lives in Capitol Hill. He's a member of the Sunrise Movement and 43rd District Democrats, among other groups.
Houston's platform focuses on climate change and housing. He believes economic transformation, including fair wages, worker ownership, and mass investment in sustainable infrastructure is needed to respond to the environmental crisis. Cleaning up the Duwamish River and Elliott Bay are on his agenda, as is increasing the stock of publicly owned housing and community land trusts. Fostering an "unparalleled" live music scene is too.
You can learn more about Houston's campaign here.
The director of economic development for SEED Seattle entered the race well before incumbent Jenny Durkan opted to withdraw in 2020. Born in Georgia, Randall worked under a state senator and, later, congressman Sanford D. Bishop Jr. He joined Seattle's Office of Economic Development in 2007 before departing in 2015.
Randall mentions rebuilding the city's economy post-pandemic, addressing homelessness, and providing public safety as priorities in a campaign letter. He feels that the city will need to build coalitions to do so, and that his years of experience working with government, corporations, nonprofits, educational institutions, and other professional entities have prepared him for that task.
You can learn more about Randall's campaign here.
The Rest of the Pack
Jeffrey Applegate, Matthew Ervin, Asukaa Jaxx, Thomas Kennis, William Kopatich, Kate Martin, and Mona Radheshwar have also registered campaigns for mayor. You can learn more about Jaxx in this article and Martin in this one. Kopatich's campaign website describes him as "The People's Mayor" and an alternative to a "broken" two party system. Radheshwar's site offers a few platform clues. There's not much out there on Applegate, Kennis, or Ervin, whose filing includes only the slogan "Make Seattle Great Again."