Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels doesn't have to travel far to see the neighborhood discontent that led to his ouster in the Aug. 18 primary.

Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels doesn’t have to travel far to see the neighborhood discontent that led to his ouster in the Aug. 18 primary.

Nickels failed to hold even his home turf of West Seattle, the area he represented for 14 years on the King County Council before being elected mayor.

Mike McGinn and Joe Mallahan, the candidates now vying to replace Nickels, ended the primary separated by just 1,164 votes. But their bases of support came from different parts of the city, according to a Seattle Times analysis of precinct vote totals released Tuesday.

In general, McGinn fared better in the dense liberal core of Seattle. His strongholds included Capitol Hill, Ballard, the University District, Central Area, Fremont and Wallingford — Mallahan’s own neighborhood. Many of those areas were ones captured by Nickels in 2001.

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Mallahan drew his meatiest backing from the city’s northern, eastern and western edges, including some of Seattle’s high-income areas with views of Puget Sound or Lake Washington. Some of his highest percentages came from precincts in Magnolia, Wedgwood, Laurelhurst and Montlake. Out of Seattle’s 961 precincts, McGinn won 393, Mallahan won 315 and Nickels won 217.

Fourth-place finisher James Donaldson won a single precinct in Rainier Beach, near the southeast edge of the city. (In 34 other precincts, two candidates were tied for the lead and in one no votes were recorded.)

Four-term City Councilmember Jan Drago failed to win any precincts, including her own in Pioneer Square. She finished fifth.

As for Nickels, his support remained strongest downtown and in Southeast Seattle, including Beacon Hill, Rainier Beach and Rainier Valley. He also retained portions of West Seattle, but Mallahan and McGinn snatched away big chunks, denying the mayor his geographic base.

Mallahan ran a campaign focused mainly on attacking Nickels and touting his own management background as an executive for T-Mobile. McGinn, a former Sierra Club official and Greenwood neighborhood leader, made stopping the $4.2 billion plan to replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct with a tunnel his central campaign theme.

It’s hard to predict from the primary totals which candidate stands a better chance of picking up the neighborhoods that stood behind Nickels. Mallahan and McGinn were virtually tied in the precincts Nickels won, with Mallahan coming out ahead by just 233 votes.

And with eight contenders splitting the primary vote, even the leading candidates won few precincts with actual majorities. McGinn won 13 precincts with at least 50 percent of the vote. Mallahan had three such precincts and Nickels just one (in a precinct with only three votes cast).

The general election is Nov. 3.

Jim Brunner: 206-515-5628 or

Justin Mayo: 206-464-3669 or