Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan is weighing in on a City Council race by endorsing Mark Solomon in District 2 and slamming two of his opponents.
Solomon’s campaign announced Durkan’s endorsement in a new release Wednesday morning, quoting from an email the mayor sent to some voters Monday night. Solomon is a crime-prevention coordinator with the Seattle Police Department.
“We are at a critical crossroads in Seattle, and District 2 needs Mark Solomon,” Durkan said in her email and the release, noting she initially met Solomon through his police work and her work as U.S. Attorney in Seattle. “Mark is a leader and problem solver, with strong ties in the community. We need his voice and his experience to make sure Seattle works for everyone.”
The Solomon campaign didn’t mention the rest of Durkan’s email to voters, in which she criticized two other candidates in the contest to replace Council President Bruce Harrell, who’s leaving City Hall at the end of this year.
District 2 covers the Chinatown International District, Georgetown and Southeast Seattle, and six candidates are running. All seven of the council’s district seats are up for election this year, with primary ballots due Aug. 6.
“I have seen firsthand how ideological fights negatively impact on our City and keep us from addressing some of our toughest issues, like affordability and homelessness,” Durkan wrote. “Mark’s opponents will take us in the wrong direction.”
She continued, “Adding another socialist like Tammy Morales, or a rigid conservative like Ari Hoffman to the City Council will cause more division in our city.”
Durkan sent the email in her personal capacity to “friends and supporters” in District 2, where she previously lived for about two decades, spokeswoman Stephanie Formas said in an email not using city resources. The mayor has also endorsed District 5 incumbent Debora Juarez.
A community organizer with the Rainier Beach Action Coalition who nearly unseated Harrell in 2015, Morales joined the Democratic Socialists of America earlier this year but hasn’t been active, she told The Seattle Times recently. She said she joined to learn more about the group’s platform.
She’s been endorsed by multiple Democratic politicians, such as U.S. Rep. Pramila Jayapal, and by Democratic Party groups, including the King County Democrats and the 37th Legislative District Democrats.
In a Facebook post and an email to supporters Tuesday night, Morales said Durkan was “using Trump-like fear mongering” and asked her supporters for donations to “stand with me against these disgusting attacks.”
“I’m not a socialist, but her implication that it’s a bad thing is ridiculous,” the candidate wrote. “This kind of name calling, to fundraise for one of my opponents, is right out of the Republicans’ national playbook.”
She added, “The mayor’s red-baiting is so 1950s. I’m proud that I’ve spent my career fighting for working families — advocating for policies that keep families from being displaced, improving access to healthy food, and protecting workers from greedy CEOs.”
Hoffman is a small-business owner who hasn’t run for office before. In her email, Durkan went on to additionally bash Morales.
“At a time that Seattle needs more police officers, Tammy Morales doesn’t believe we need additional support for SPD,” the mayor wrote. “She also wants to defund our Navigation Team, a specially trained team to help people experiencing homelessness move off the streets and into safer places … She also supports another immediate fight on the head tax.”
Serving on the Seattle Human Rights Commission, Morales has called for the city to stop “sweeping” unauthorized encampments, calling such actions ineffective, and for the city to direct more money toward homeless services.
She supported Seattle’s per-employee head tax last year, which would have collected dollars from high-grossing companies had it not been quickly repealed under pressure from those companies and some voters.
Morales responded on Facebook and in her email.
“The Mayor is right about one thing — I don’t think City Hall is doing enough to address homelessness,” she wrote. “Four years into Seattle’s declared emergency on homelessness, I believe we should build more housing, provide trash pickup and hygiene services, and provide meaningful assistance to our fellow human beings who are trying to survive without a roof over their heads.”
She added, “I am not ashamed of my fight for the working class. That is why I’m running — to shift power from the wealthy special interests to the people of District 2, the working people who make this city a wonderful, thriving community.”
In her email, Durkan pointed to Solomon’s “strong ties to the community. Having been born and raised on Beacon Hill. “Mark knows firsthand the impacts of displacement, the importance of creating real opportunity for youth and how to build trust in the police department,” she wrote.
Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly said Seattle City Council candidate Tammy Morales had been endorsed by the Seattle chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America.