The King County Democrats — an umbrella group for 17 legislative-district groups — voted Tuesday night to back Cary Moon.
The King County Democrats handed Cary Moon a sole endorsement in the race for Seattle mayor this week, giving her a boost amid a run of labor-union endorsements for opponent Jenny Durkan.
Durkan has history with the Democratic Party. The former U.S. attorney advised Democratic governors Mike Lowry and Chris Gregoire and served as Gregoire’s lawyer to help her win a contested election against Republican Dino Rossi in 2004. Durkan’s father was a Democratic state lawmaker.
But the King County Democrats — an umbrella group for the county’s 17 Democratic legislative-district groups — voted Tuesday night to back Moon, an urbanist who in recent years has been more active than Durkan in Seattle civic affairs.
“In a time where labor and a lot of ally organizations are getting behind Jenny, it’s interesting to see some party progressives move behind Cary,” King County Democrats chair Bailey Stober said Wednesday.
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He described the vote as part of an anti-establishment trend within the party, seen in grass-roots support for presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, among others.
“There’s a new wave of people coming in looking for what they call a super-progressive candidate, and they’re finding that in the policy positions and talking points of Cary Moon.”
Since the Aug. 1 primary, Durkan has consolidated support from organized labor, announcing endorsements from Seattle Building & Construction Trades Council, International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 19 and the Martin Luther King County Labor Council, which claims more than 150 member organizations.
On Wednesday, the candidate added SEIU 1199NW, which represents nurses and other health-care workers, to her list. Seattle’s firefighters union and SEIU 775, which represents nursing-home and home-health workers, backed her in the primary.
“Because of Jenny Durkan’s lifetime of experience fighting for social justice issues, we know we will have a strong leader standing with us to prevent roll-backs and win advancements in civil rights,” SEIU 1199NW President Diane Sosne said in a statement.
Moon needed 66 percent of King County Democratic voters to capture an endorsement, while Durkan, having been recommended by the group’s executive board, needed only 60 percent.
Those voting included Moon-backer Summer Stinson, policy director for the 36th District Democrats. The Moon-Durkan race speaks to “the heart of the Democratic Party and who we want to be and who we are,” Stinson said. “What I think is happening is we have broadened what we expect or want in terms of experience.”
“The activism that Cary has shown” on issues such as opposing an Alaskan Way Viaduct replacement tunnel,” Stinson added, “is respected.”
Stober echoed that point.
“There’s been a shift,” he said. “We’ve elected new state and county party chairs. Over 60 percent of my executive board was elected in this last cycle … and a large contingent are Bernie folks looking for a more progressive Democrat than what our party has typically had.”
Some legislative-district groups with territory in Seattle already have endorsed Moon or Durkan: The 46th Dems recently gave them a dual endorsement, while the 32nd Dems went for Moon, former state Sen. Bob Hasegawa and former mayor Mike McGinn in the primary.
Because the King County Democrats tend to be more centrist than the Seattle groups, Tuesday’s vote bodes well for Moon, campaign spokeswoman Heather Weiner said, calling the outcome a surprise.