Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes slipped to third place in his bid for a fourth term as more vote counts were released Thursday in the Aug. 3 primary, leaving him on the verge of failing to advance to the November general election.

The Thursday tally put Holmes at 32% of the vote. Challengers Ann Davison and Nicole Thomas-Kennedy were at 34.5% and 33%, respectively. Holmes trailed Thomas-Kennedy by 1,491 votes.

While tens of thousands of ballots remain to be counted, Holmes would need a substantial reversal of fortune to overcome his deficit. The two candidates with the most votes will advance to the Nov. 2 general election.

Christian Sinderman, Holmes’ political consultant, said he was not yet conceding. “Let’s see what happens tomorrow,” he said in a text message.

Full election 2021 coverage
Election 2020 star logo teaser tzr


Seattle political consultant Sandeep Kaushik predicted Holmes’ fate is sealed, based on the later vote trend. “He’s toast!” Kaushik said in a text message.


Davison, an attorney and arbitrator, ran for lieutenant governor last year as a Republican and for Seattle City Council in 2019. The city attorney position is nonpartisan. She has strongly criticized Holmes over rising crime and civil disorder.

Davison wasn’t ready to declare victory Thursday. “It still looks likely, but the numbers are still coming in,” she said of her likelihood of moving past the primary.

Thomas-Kennedy, a former public defender, argued Holmes has prosecuted too many people for minor offenses, including many driven by poverty. A self-described abolitionist, she favors ending most misdemeanor prosecutions.

“Love you Seattle. So much,” she tweeted in reaction to Thursday’s vote shift.

If elected, either Davison or Thomas-Kennedy would be the first woman ever to serve as Seattle city attorney, dating back to 1875, according to the city’s municipal archives.

Holmes, a former bankruptcy lawyer, was elected city attorney in 2009, beating incumbent Tom Carr. He was reelected with no opposition in 2013 and easily defeated challenger Scott Lindsay in 2017.


After running a relatively quiet reelection campaign this year, Holmes went on the offensive in the final days of the election, warning he was in danger of getting squeezed out by rivals who he argued are too extreme and inexperienced.

The ballot counts released Thursday afternoon — about 62,000 countywide and 30,000 in Seattle — also showed some movement in other key races, though not enough to alter the overall picture.

Meanwhile in the Seattle mayoral race, former City Council President Bruce Harrell remained in first place, with about 37% of the vote. Current Council President M. Lorena González gained some ground but remained in second place with about 30%. They’ll both advance to the general election, as the next highest vote-getter, Colleen Echohawk, was trailing with 9% support.

In the race for Seattle City Council Position 9, brewery owner Sara Nelson and activist and lawyer Nikkita Oliver will advance to the general election, with 42% and 36.5% of the vote, respectively, as of Thursday’s count. The citywide council position was vacated by González in her bid for mayor.

Halei Watkins, a spokesperson for King County Elections, said roughly 140,000 ballots remain to be tallied countywide.

This report includes material from The Seattle Times archives.