Editor’s note: Oops, you’ve reached The Seattle Times Opinion landing page for the Aug. 3, 2021, primary. Find the full and updated list of endorsements for the Nov. 2, 2021, general election here.  

In these odd-year elections, voters decide on their elected leaders closest to home. Races for school board, city council and hospital districts, among many other local jurisdictions, are on the Aug. 3 primary ballot.

The Seattle Times editorial board is here to help. We have interviewed dozens of candidates since May, quizzing them on qualifications and what they hope to accomplish if elected, or returned to office. Here is Editorial Page Editor Kate Riley’s column on some of the editorial board’s considerations.

Below are some of our recommendations for Seattle mayor and City Council, Metropolitan King County Council and executive, Bellevue City Council, school board candidates and King County’s Best Starts for Kids ballot measure. Check back for more endorsements. And be sure to read the election coverage by the The Times news staff.

Agree or disagree, please vote, and deliver your ballot by mail or drop box early.


Dow Constantine, Executive

The pandemic tested leaders at every level of government. Constantine showed he can be nimble, overseeing sudden policy pivots for county transportation, jail, parks, homeless shelters and numerous other areas. With that ordeal now fading, the county needs visionary work to address other crises. Read full endorsement →

Metropolitan King County, Council District No. 3

October update: The Seattle Times editorial board revisited the Position 3 race following the use of offensive and inaccurate campaign literature sent to voters by Kathy Lambert. Read our new endorsement of Sarah Perry. Read full endorsement →

Pete von Reichbauer, Metropolitan King County, Council District No. 7

Von Reichbauer’s skill at sniffing out resources and knack for coalition-building have been consistent assets for his district, whether it’s protecting natural resources, building necessary infrastructure or recreational facilities. Read full endorsement →

Reagan Dunn, Metropolitan King County, Council District No. 9

Dunn’s independence, effectiveness and experience will be even more valuable as the county redoubles its efforts to fight homelessness, and increase transparency and eliminate inequities in law enforcement and criminal justice. Read full endorsement →


Proposition No. 1 (Regular Property Tax Levy for Children, Youth, Families and Communities)

Programs supported by Best Starts for Kids conducted 200,000 home visits to families with new children. They promoted a healthy environment and delivered essential items like food, diapers and car seats to 89,000 kids and families. Education, nutrition and homelessness also were top concerns. Best Starts has been a responsible manager of the funds the public entrusted it with. King County is better off for it. Read full endorsement →


Bruce Harrell, Mayor

As a former three-term council member and interim mayor, Harrell understands well how City Hall power functions and how to assemble coalitions to back crucial, collaborative changes. Harrell’s proven consensus-building ability isn’t just a comfort. It’s a necessity in Seattle’s fractured leadership. Read full endorsement →

Ann Davison, City Attorney

Davison’s vision is to help restore a lawful city with real compassion, not exacerbating the plights of people struggling with poverty, mental-health or substance-use disorders. Read full endorsement →


No recommendation, Council Position No. 8

Seattle voters deserve better choices for city council than will appear on the ballot for the citywide position 8. The Times cannot recommend reelecting Teresa Mosqueda or either of her opponents. Read full endorsement →

Sara Nelson, Council Position No. 9

Nelson knows how to craft municipal policy from nearly a decade working on the staff of former City Councilmember Richard Conlin. And she proved during the pandemic how strongly she values workers at her business, Fremont Brewing. Read full endorsement →


Laura Marie Rivera, Director District No. 4

Rivera understands that Seattle Public Schools students have diverse post-graduation aspirations, and that it’s the district’s job to help prepare them for those futures. She is focused on the real-world impacts of board decisions on students and their families — a refreshing change. Read full endorsement →

Michelle Sarju, Director District No. 5

Sarju knows firsthand the school district’s strengths, shortcomings and quirks, having sent three Black children and several foster children to Seattle Public Schools. Her experience will be invaluable as the district tackles goals of an equitable education for all students. Read full endorsement →


Dexter Borbe, Council Position No. 2

Borbe lacks government experience, but that is not unusual in a city-council race. He makes up for it with a solid professional résumé. He owns a small home health care business, is a former renewable energy executive and even worked for a time at Amazon. He will bring management skills and strategic thinking to the council. Read full endorsement →


Joyce Shui, Director District No. 3

Shui is an attorney, mother of four and founder of The Purple School bilingual education programs for infants and young children. She has a nuanced understanding of the factors leading to last year’s breakdown between the board, labor, parents and district leadership. Read full endorsement →

Valeri Makam, Director District No. 5

As a founding board member of the character-building nonprofit Camp Kindness Counts, Makam understands the social-emotional needs of Bellevue’s students, which will be important after the pandemic. Read full endorsement →