One at-large seat and one district position — both pitting strong challengers against current council members — have so far attracted the most money in Seattle’s nine active City Council races.
Seattle City Council races are starting to take shape now that Friday’s filing deadline has come and gone. The council’s nine seats all are available.
Though 47 candidates will be on the primary ballot, the six current council members running for re-election were, through April, each leading their races in fundraising.
One citywide seat and one district position — both pitting strong challengers against current council members — have so far attracted the most money, while the two districts without current members in the mix are crowded with credible contenders.
Council President Tim Burgess is seeking Position 8, one of the council’s two citywide seats now that seven will be elected by district, and is the city’s top fundraiser.
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The former Seattle police detective and public-relations-firm owner, who was first elected in 2007 and who won re-election in 2011 with 83 percent of the vote, has pulled in more than $147,000. But he isn’t the only Position 8 candidate with money to burn.
John Roderick, wisecracking frontman for the indie rock band The Long Winters, has piled up more than $55,500 in contributions in fewer than two months. That’s a noteworthy haul, considering that Burgess began depositing checks back in January.
Two other Position 8 candidates — former Tenants Union director Jon Grant and longshoreman-union leader John Persak — each have raised more than $20,000.
The latest fundraising numbers come from disclosure filings from the end of April.
No other race has so much money in play. The primary isn’t until Aug. 4 and Burgess, Roderick, Grant and Persak have together raised more than $250,000.
Burgess is leaning heavily on donations from people in District 7, which includes downtown Seattle: 35 percent of his contributions have originated in that part of town.
Roderick, in contrast, has grabbed 59 percent from supporters outside the city. Nearly 150 separate donations have come from his fans in New York and California.
Many of Roderick’s non-Seattle donations have been relatively small, so the singer-songwriter has the lowest average contribution amount of any council candidate: $90.
Grant also has relied on non-Seattle contributions, sourcing 52 percent of his cash from outside the city — particularly Bainbridge Island, where his parents live. Persak has contributed 24 percent of his own funds, with several unions picking up the slack.
Burgess is primed for a big push in terms of spending, with more than $120,000 cash on hand at the end of April. Roderick, for his part, was sitting on more than $44,000.
The race drawing the second-most spending is in District 3. Councilmember Kshama Sawant is winning the money game there with more than $81,000, thanks in some part to generous contributions from a number of union locals and labor leaders.
District 3 includes Capitol Hill, Montlake, Madison Park and the Central District.
Sawant, who made a point of collecting signatures to make the ballot rather than paying a $1,200 fee, has tallied more individual contributors than any other candidate.
But former Urban League President Pamela Banks, with support from some of Sawant’s many nemeses, is rapidly amassing an impressive war chest of her own.
Banks has raised more than $48,000 since announcing her candidacy in early March and her contributors include former Starbucks executive Howard Behar, real-estate mogul John Goodman, landlord representative Hugh Brannon and Burgess himself.
Toss in District 3 candidates Morgan Beach, Rod Hearne and Lee Carter and the race has stirred up nearly $200,000. District 3 and Position 8 should continue to attract dollars because Burgess and Sawant are two of the council’s highest-profile members.
Sawant had just $14,000 on hand through April, having spent much of her money on newsletters and campaign consulting. Banks had more than $34,000 on hand.
The other fundraising leaders, according to the most recent disclosure, are Lisa Herbold in District 1 (West Seattle, Delridge and South Park), Bruce Harrell in District 2 (Southeast Seattle), Jean Godden in District 4 (Northeast Seattle), Sandy Brown in District 5 (North Seattle), Mike O’Brien in District 6 (Fremont, Phinney Ridge and Ballard), Sally Bagshaw in District 7 (Magnolia, Queen Anne, South Lake Union and downtown), and Lorena González, who’s running for Position 9, a citywide seat.
Herbold is a longtime aide to Councilmember Nick Licata, who isn’t seeking re-election; Brown is a former Methodist pastor who’s worked against homelessness and for gun control; and González is Seattle Mayor Ed Murray’s former legal counsel.
Districts 1 and District 5, the two districts with no current council members competing, will have nine and eight candidates on the primary ballot, respectively.
Harrell, Godden, O’Brien and Bagshaw each are current council members.
Correction: An earlier version of this story named Shannon Braddock as the fundraising leader in District 1. The leader is Lisa Herbold.