Longtime Seattle City Councilmember Jean Godden conceded in her re-election bid Thursday after fresh results from the council’s Tuesday primary election showed her falling farther behind opponents Rob Johnson and Michael Maddux.

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Longtime Seattle City Councilmember Jean Godden conceded in her re-election bid Thursday after fresh results from the council’s Tuesday primary election showed her falling farther behind opponents Rob Johnson and Michael Maddux.

The three-term council member and former newspaper columnist was running in the council’s new District 4, which covers much of Northeast Seattle and part of Eastlake.

The top two vote-getters in each of the council’s races advance to the Nov. 3 general election.

“I looked at the figures and decided that for me this race is over,” Godden said in an interview. “I’ve called to offer my congratulations and best wishes (to Johnson and Maddux). I told them they ran a great race. I was thankful it was a civil race and even though the race is now over, my work at the city is not done. I have five months left and I’m going to make them count.”

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This is the council’s first year of district elections in modern history, with seven of nine seats moving to geographic representation. Before the primary, Godden was widely viewed as the most vulnerable of six current council members seeking re-election.

She had Mayor Ed Murray’s support and was recently the sponsor of legislation providing city workers with paid parental leave for the first time.

But Godden, 83, saw many major endorsements go to Johnson, a transit advocate, and Maddux, a paralegal and parks activist. Both men are in their 30s.

“I feel fine,” Godden said Thursday. “I’m disappointed, of course. Anybody who goes into an election will go in knowing there are several possible outcomes and this is my seventh election (including primaries).”

She added: “I won the other six but now this is something that voters have decided and I do believe the voters matter.”

Godden said she isn’t sure why she failed to win enough votes. As of Thursday afternoon, she had about 20 percent to Johnson’s 33 and Maddux’s 24.

“It’s a good question,” she said. “We’ve been through a lot of unprecedented changes and voters are reacting the best they can.”

The View Ridge resident said she may make an endorsement in District 4’s runoff.

“The time to talk about that is later, but I think the door is open,” she said.

Maddux, in an email to supporters Thursday, extended gratitude to Godden.

“There are many quality-of-life areas wherein she and I have been in agreement, and where we have disagreed on policy and priorities, it remains clear that Councilmember Godden has remained a dedicated public servant,” he said.

In an interview Thursday, Johnson thanked Godden for setting the right tone for the District 4 race.

Seattle City Council

Interactive map: Click to see primary election results and explore the demographic makeup of Seattle’s new City Council districts.
Interactive map: Click to see primary election results and explore the demographic makeup of Seattle’s new City Council districts.

“We’ve had honest discussions and have focused on ideas,” he said. “We haven’t gotten into the kind of personal attacks that you can see happen sometimes in races.”

Johnson attributed his win over the current council member to the district-voting system, which allowed his campaign “to put a lot of shoe leather on the ground.”

He said his campaign made more than 5,000 phone calls in the days immediately before primary ballots were due and have knocked on more than 17,500 doors in District 4.