Try this riddle: What do U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, the Sailors Union of the Pacific and five former Seattle mayors have in common?
Answer: They’ve each endorsed candidates in Seattle’s Nov. 2 election.
Dozens of other politicians, labor unions, businesses, advocacy groups, media outlets and community leaders have also weighed in, hoping to sway the outcomes of races for mayor, city attorney and City Council.
Touted on campaign mailers, television spots, yard signs and websites, endorsements can reassure voters — or make them think twice. Now is when the picks can pack a punch, with the ballot deadline under a week away.
Warren has endorsed M. Lorena González in her mayoral race with Bruce Harrell, as has another progressive East Coast senator, Bernie Sanders.
Closer to home, González is backed by other politicians including U.S. Rep. Pramila Jayapal, state Sen. Rebecca Saldaña, state Rep. Nicole Macri, former Mayor Mike McGinn and City Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda.
González, the council’s current president, boasts labor-movement support, including the Martin Luther King Jr. County Labor Council; the Teamsters; and unions representing hotel, supermarket, health care and custodial workers.
González also is endorsed by the King County Democrats, six legislative district Democratic Party groups, Planned Parenthood, Sierra Club Seattle, Washington Conservation Voters and the immigrant rights organization OneAmerica.
Harrell is endorsed by U.S. Reps. Marilyn Strickland and Adam Smith; former Gov. Gary Locke; and former Mayors Norm Rice, Greg Nickels, Charles Royer and Wes Uhlman.
A former council president whose last year at City Hall was 2019, Harrell is also backed by politicians like state Sen. Reuven Carlyle, state Rep. Sharon Tomiko Santos and City Councilmember Debora Juarez.
His labor support includes unions representing firefighters, transit workers, electric line workers, iron workers and plumbers.
Highly rated by the business-focused Downtown Seattle Association and endorsed by the Washington Technology Industry Association, Harrell has a number of prominent Black leaders backing him, such as the Rev. Harriett Walden, the Rev. Carey Anderson and Black Panther Party activist Elmer Dixon.
Among mayoral candidates knocked out in the Aug. 3 primary election, Andrew Grant Houston has endorsed González, while Jessyn Farrell, Casey Sixkiller, Art Langlie and Lance Randall have endorsed Harrell. Colleen Echohawk hasn’t endorsed, nor has current Mayor Jenny Durkan.
The Stranger has endorsed González, while The Seattle Times editorial board has endorsed Harrell (the news operation at The Times is independent from the editorial board).
Unions have spent about $1 million for González and against Harrell through an independent political action committee. A PAC funded mostly by individuals, including a number of major donors connected to the real estate industry, has spent more than $1 million for Harrell and against González.
City attorney race
Nicole Thomas-Kennedy and Ann Davison combined to knock out incumbent City Attorney Pete Holmes in the primary.
Thomas-Kennedy, a former public defender, is endorsed by the King County Democrats and seven legislative district Democratic Party groups, plus the Democratic Socialists of America’s Seattle chapter, Planned Parenthood and The Stranger.
She’s also supported by the MLK Labor Council; the Teamsters; and unions representing carpenters, painters, health care workers and custodial workers.
Her endorsements by individuals include Saldaña, state Rep. Kirsten Harris-Talley, King County Councilmember Girmay Zahilay, McGinn, Mosqueda, City Councilmember Tammy Morales and former City Councilmember Mike O’Brien. González and Mosqueda have said they’re voting for Thomas-Kennedy, and more than 200 local lawyers have signed a letter of support.
Davison, a lawyer who has worked as an arbitrator in recent years, is endorsed by the political arm of the Seattle Hotel Association and Seattle Restaurant Alliance, and by The Seattle Times editorial board.
The Building Trades Council and unions representing firefighters, cement masons and iron workers are supporting her.
Individuals endorsing Davison include three former governors (Locke, Christine Gregoire and Dan Evans) and three former mayors (Nickels, Royer and Uhlman), plus former City Councilmember Richard Conlin and former City Attorney Mark Sidran. Thirty retired judges from the area have signed a letter of support.
The Washington Coalition of Minority Legal Professionals has rated Thomas-Kennedy “adequate” and Davison “not qualified.” A PAC funded in large part by business executives has been spending against Thomas-Kennedy.
City Council races
The council’s two at-large seats are up for election. In the Position 8 race, Mosqueda is endorsed by an overwhelming number of unions, environmental groups and Democratic Party groups. The incumbent also is endorsed by many local elected officials, plus Sanders and Jayapal.
Kenneth Wilson, a bridge engineer, lists no endorsements on his campaign website, but the website does include commendations from several clients. Kate Martin, who finished third in the Position 8 primary, is a supporter.
In the race for Position 9, which González is vacating, lawyer and nonprofit leader Nikkita Oliver is endorsed by organizations such as the Democratic Socialists of America’s Seattle chapter, Democratic Party groups for the 11th and 43rd legislative districts, Planned Parenthood, Sierra Club Seattle, Washington Conservation Voters and OneAmerica, plus The Stranger.
Oliver’s labor endorsements include the MLK Labor Council; the Teamsters; and unions for teachers, painters, carpenters and resident physicians, in addition to hotel, supermarket, health care and custodial workers.
Individuals backing Oliver include Jayapal, Saldaña, Mosqueda, Harris-Talley, Zahilay, writer Ijeoma Oluo and youth-program director Sean Goode.
Matched up against Oliver is Fremont brewery owner Sara Nelson. She’s endorsed by the Seattle Hotel Association/Seattle Restaurant Alliance political arm, highly rated by the Downtown Seattle Association and endorsed by The Seattle Times editorial board.
Her labor endorsements include the Building Trades Council and unions representing firefighters, plumbers, electric line workers and laborers, plus the Sailors Union of the Pacific.
Nelson’s backers include Locke, Evans, Carlyle, Walden, City Councilmember Alex Pedersen, and restaurateurs Maria Hines and Ethan Stowell.
PACs funded by real estate agents, firefighters and business interests have been spending on Nelson’s side. A PAC funded by unions and by organizations associated with entrepreneur Nick Hanauer has been spending for Oliver.