U.S. Rep. Pramila Jayapal, one of the biggest names in Seattle politics, has endorsed City Council President M. Lorena González in her run for mayor, an early coup for González in a still-evolving campaign.
Jayapal is the highest-profile endorser so far in the mayor’s race. The full field won’t be set until the state filing deadline in late May, and the race for endorsements, a time-honored part of local campaigns, is progressing slowly.
Endorsements by members of Congress in a mayoral election are relatively rare. No Washington members of Congress, Jayapal included, endorsed a candidate in the 2017 mayor’s race.
Jayapal and González have worked together for more than a decade, beginning in 2007, when both served on a community panel reviewing Seattle’s police accountability system. In 2008, González joined the board of OneAmerica, the immigrant rights group Jayapal founded and led.
“From years of working together for the rights of immigrants and refugees at OneAmerica, to collaborating on workers’ rights, Medicare For All and COVID relief today, I know Lorena’s first and only concern is lifting others up,” Jayapal said in announcing her endorsement. “Lorena is the progressive choice to move Seattle forward because she is a proven leader who knows how to get things done.”
Jayapal’s congressional district overlaps with most of Seattle, although she does not represent parts of Capitol Hill, the Central District and South Seattle. Since winning office in 2016, she has been reelected twice, always with at least 80% of the vote, and has built a national profile as the leader of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.
Jayapal said she’s eager to endorse candidates she’s worked with personally and that González, first elected to the City Council in 2015, is a fellow woman of color.
“It’s very important that we mentor and build leadership ladders and take positions, particularly when there is a longstanding relationship,” Jayapal said. “It’s important to have in this position somebody who is going to be a real partner to me.”
González also has the endorsement of state Sens. Rebecca Saldaña and Joe Nguyen and her City Council colleagues Lisa Herbold, Tammy Morales and Teresa Mosqueda.
In her bid for mayor, former state Rep. Jessyn Farrell has the endorsement of City Councilmember Dan Strauss, state Rep. David Hackney and former state Rep. Brady Walkinshaw, whom Jayapal defeated in the 2016 race for Congress.
At least 15 candidates have filed to run for mayor already, with more likely to come before the May 21 deadline.
Colleen Echohawk, executive director of the Chief Seattle Club, who entered the race in January, has an early lead in fundraising, reporting more than $300,000 in donations and publicly funded Democracy Vouchers, according to Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission filings.
González has reported raising about $160,000 in combined donations and Democracy Vouchers.
Andrew Grant Houston, an architect and City Council aide, has reported raising about $135,000, according to SEEC filings.
Former Seattle City Council President Bruce Harrell, who announced his campaign two weeks ago, has not yet filed fundraising reports with the Elections Commission. Harrell has the endorsement of U.S. Rep. Marilyn Strickland, who represents Olympia and parts of Tacoma, and state Reps. Sharon Tomiko Santos and Cindy Ryu.