The latest results from last week’s general election indicate that Sara Nelson will likely triumph over opponent Nikkita Oliver to become the newest member of the Seattle City Council.
The results also indicate that Nelson will probably serve alongside incumbent Teresa Mosqueda, who appears to have survived a challenge for her seat.
Monday’s results from the Nov. 2 election show Nelson and Mosqueda with 54% and 59% of the vote in their respective races. Their opponents, Oliver and Kenneth Wilson, had just 45% and 40%, respectively.
Nelson leads Oliver 137,898 votes to 117,014. Mosqueda leads Wilson 147,346 to 100,176. There are just 6,215 ballots left to count in Seattle, meaning comebacks in those races are nearly impossible.
Nelson, the co-founder of Fremont Brewing, and Oliver, an attorney and nonprofit director, were vying for the Position 9 seat vacated by council president M. Lorena González, who recently conceded defeat in a race to become Seattle’s next mayor. Their race was one of three local contests in which a centrist, Nelson, was pitted against a more progressive candidate, Oliver.
Oliver, who uses they/them pronouns, focused their bid primarily on problems faced by the city’s marginalized communities.
To address homelessness, they promised to eliminate Seattle’s “ban” on apartments in neighborhoods with “single-family zoning” and outlined ways the city could use new funds to house those who currently don’t have a home. Oliver was also a proponent of cutting the Seattle Police Department’s budget in half.
Nelson, meanwhile, courted voters who she said are tired of the council’s desire to pursue left-wing agendas. She opposes defunding the police and promised to remove homeless encampments in the city’s parks and streets through a phased approach. With regard to Seattle’s single-family zoning restrictions — an issue the entire council is looking to address — she argued for a phased approach to that as well.
In the race for the council’s Position 8 seat, Mosqueda campaigned on her record. Her biggest accomplishment is the city’s tax on large corporations, which was her brainchild. She also, along with her colleagues, allowed denser construction in several Seattle neighborhoods and made roughly $8 million in changes — about $3 million in cuts and $5 million in earmarks — to the city’s police budget.
Wilson, a bridge engineer, framed himself as someone residents could vote for if they were dissatisfied with the council’s direction. He championed more funding for the city’s police and promised to address homelessness by shutting down encampments.
Nelson, 55, was born in Sacramento. She received her undergraduate degree from the University of California at Santa Barbara and a Ph.D. in cultural anthropology from the University of Washington. She lectured at UW before becoming an aide to former councilmember Richard Conlin from 2002 to 2013. In 2009, she co-founded Fremont Brewing with her husband.
Mosqueda, 41, was born in Denver. She earned her undergraduate degree from UW in 2002 and her master's degree in public administration from Evergreen State College in 2006. She was elected to the Seattle City Council in 2017 after handily defeating housing advocate Jon Grant for the open seat. Before being elected to the council, she served as the legislative director of the Washington State Labor Council.
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