Major Victory in Seattle City Council Races
January 31, 2024
Out of six Seattle City Council candidates endorsed by Seattle King County REALTORS®, four were elected by Seattle residents, flipping the Council to a more moderate position.
For the past several years, the Seattle City Council has presided over a severe erosion of quality of life in the city by focusing on a highly activist political agenda that ignored the needs of average homeowners simply trying to earn a living and raise their families. Crime rates skyrocketed, and the police force was decimated. The council’s approval rating plunged to near 20%, an all-time low.
Unfortunately, what happens in Seattle does not stay in Seattle. As the largest city in the state, Seattle is the source of progressive policies that increase taxes and dilute property rights. Once passed in Seattle they spread to other cities and the state legislature. So, moderating Seattle politics offers statewide benefit.
This year, seven council seats were up for reelection, with only three incumbents. Four seats were open. This was an unprecedented opportunity that led the SKCR Board of Directors to appoint a special task force to consider and issue endorsements in Seattle. A total of 45 candidates filed for the seven seats. SKCR interviewed 19 of the most viable candidates across all seven districts and made endorsements in six races.
SKCR’s emphasis in this election was pragmatism, public safety, and a return to the high quality of life that the Pacific Northwest has long enjoyed. This was a once-in-a-decade opportunity to support more moderate candidates who will listen to business, but still align with Seattle voter sensibilities and are therefore electable.
Here are the Guiding Principles we used for candidate endorsement:
Pragmatic and durable solutions to the housing affordability crisis
- Zoning should ensure that an adequate supply of market-rate housing can be built relative to demand.
- Subsidized/low-income housing should be funded by broad taxing measures. Everyone should pay, not just those buying or selling a house. Transfer taxes like the real estate excise tax (REET) or fees on new development increase market-rate housing costs.
A robust housing ladder
- Overall housing affordability requires housing choices at every price point—from a subsidized unit to a lakefront mansion. “Move up” buyers create housing options for everyone below them on the housing ladder.
- There is a critical need for housing available to median income households, so they can enter the real estate market and start building equity and housing stability.
- Middle housing offers important opportunities for new housing supply in existing neighborhoods.
Improved public safety
- Quality of life depends on real and perceived personal and property safety.
- Safe streets are a critical component for a healthy, vibrant community.
Economic opportunity for all
- A healthy city partners with its employers to promote access to good, family-wage jobs.
Responsible, responsive council-members and governance
- Many Seattle residents feel disconnected from City Hall. They seek a city government that attends to the core responsibilities of city government—public safety, maintenance of bridges, streets, and parks. They seek wise use of tax dollars and responsiveness when basic services are not being met.
Seattle voters agreed and sent five new members to the City Council. Each of the five represents the more moderate candidate in the race. Voters also returned two incumbents to office.
Already, the council has demonstrated its interest in thoughtful governance by electing Sara Nelson as Council President. Nelson is a small-business owner and a strong supporter of housing supply and quality of life. We expect her to hit the ground running in partnership with Mayor Harrell to get Seattle back on track.
Another Endorsed Candidate Appointed
Seattle City Council member Teresa Mosqueda successfully ran for a seat on the King County Council this past November, leaving her Seattle City Council seat vacant.
The council appointed Tanya Woo to fill the vacancy, and she will hold the seat until the voters select a new City Council member in November. Seattle King County REALTORS® endorsed Woo in her unsuccessful bid for the District 2 City Council seat in 2023.