Seven seats are up for grabs on the Seattle City Council this year. There are 56 candidates running for those seats, in what is shaping up to be the most competitive round of city elections in years.

Thirteen judge seats are up for grabs in King County this year. There are 13 candidates running for those seats, virtually ensuring that not a single one of them will be a competitive race.

Hundreds of people filed to run for local office in King County this week, but an unequal distribution of those candidates means that while some races will be bitterly fought, others will be all but perfunctory.

The filing deadline passed at 4:30 p.m. Friday.

In total, 609 people filed for 337 offices, ranging from full-time, countywide positions like King County assessor, to part-time, obscure offices like Coal Creek Utility District commissioner. That’s fewer than King County Elections had predicted, but still the second-most the county has ever seen, trailing only 2017.

Counter-intuitively, John Wilson will run unopposed for a second term as assessor, while there will be a competitive, three-person race to be on the Coal Creek Utility District Commission (which oversees water and sewer service in parts of Renton and Newcastle).

There are four seats up for grabs on the Metropolitan King County Council and all four incumbents are running for re-election. All have drawn challengers, but some races may be more robust than others.


Two races feature veteran lawmakers facing much younger challengers running active campaigns.

In southeast Seattle, longtime Councilmember Larry Gossett has opponents for the first time in 14 years. He’ll face Seattle lawyer and education advocate Girmay Zahilay, 32, and frequent candidate Stan Lippman.

In northwest Seattle, longtime legislator and incumbent Jeanne Kohl-Welles, who was first elected to the state Legislature in 1992, faces transit advocate Abigail Doerr, 29.

Two other races feature incumbents running against candidates renowned for losing campaigns.

In the Eastside district centered on Bellevue, Councilmember Claudia Balducci faces perennial candidate and Sound Transit foe Bill Hirt. And in the district comprising West Seattle, Burien and Tukwila, Councilmember Joe McDermott faces Goodspaceguy and Michael Robert Neher.

King County Director of Elections Julie Wise will face frequent candidate Mark Greene in her race for reelection. Two positions on the Port of Seattle Commission are up, drawing 10 total candidates.


There are mayoral races in nine King County cities. Only five of those will be contested, as the races in Algona, Clyde Hill, Lake Forest Park and Tukwila drew only one candidate apiece.

Eleven spots are available for Superior Court judges. But you won’t have any choice on the ballot in any of them. The incumbent judge filed to run in each of those seats and none drew a single challenger. Ditto for the two seats available on the Court of Appeals, where Judges John H. Chun and Lori K. Smith will both seek full terms, unopposed, after being appointed to the court in 2018.

Eleven positions — including City Council seats in Beaux Arts Village and Hunts Point and several King County Fire Protection District seats — drew no candidates at all. Depending on the position, those seats will have a special filing period in August or the incumbent will stay in office.

Four seats on the Seattle School Board drew at least three candidates each, while four City Council races in Bellevue also drew at least three candidates each.

As for the Seattle City Council, with seven seats up for grabs and four incumbents bowing out, it’s the hottest race around. Every district has at least three candidates. But most have more than double that many. The 6th District, representing Ballard, Fremont and Wallingford, has a whopping 14 candidates.