Godden Trails, Sawant Leads In Seattle Council District Races | KUOW News and Information

Godden Trails, Sawant Leads In Seattle Council District Races

Aug 4, 2015

Your votes are in and here's what we know about the primary election for Seattle's new City Council districts: It was pretty good for incumbents.

Except one. 

In the first returns posted at 8:15 p.m. on the King County Elections website, incumbent Jean Godden trailed the top two in District 4. Rob Johnson led and Michael Maddux was second, with Godden less than 200 votes behind Maddux.

At a primary-night block party in Wedgwood before the returns came in, Godden was upbeat, saying she’s faced tough reelection bids before.

”I’ve always had at least four opponents, that’s exactly the name of the game," she said. "Give people a choice, that’s important.”

City Councilmember Jean Godden attends a block party Tuesday evening.
Credit KUOW Photo/Amy Radil

Johnson’s election-night party in Ravenna was packed and euphoric when the ballot numbers came in. Johnson, director of the Transportation Choices Coalition, said the change to City Council districts was crucial for him.

“It made it really possible to run," he said. "As somebody with three young kids and a full-time job I could have never been able to get from an event in West Seattle to an event in Rainier Beach to an event in Northgate and an event in Ravenna all in one night which is what you have to do if you’re a citywide candidate.”

In District 3, Councilmember Kshama Sawant was faring better in first place with a lead over challenger Pamela Banks.

Holding large leads were incumbents Bruce Harrell (District 2), Mike O'Brien (District 6), Sally Bagshaw (District 7) and Tim Burgess (at-large Position 8).

In the most crowded race, in West Seattle's District 1, Shannon Braddock and Lisa Herbold held the top two spots. A total of nine people are running there.

In District 5, covering North Seattle, including Northgate and Bitter Lake, Debora Juarez leads Sandy Brown and six other candidates.

And in the other at-large race, Position 9, Lorena Gonzalez leads Bill Bradburd.

More Results At The King County Elections Website

In Washington's all-mail voting, ballots can come in for days after the deadline for postmarking them -- in this case 8 p.m. Tuesday. That means given the number of candidates running, it may take a while for enough votes to be counted to be certain of everyone who goes on to November's top-two election.

King County officials said turnout was low.

This is the first election in more than a century in which Seattle residents are voting in City Council districts. Seattle voted in 2013 to split the city into seven districts with one council member elected from each and two more members elected at-large.

The top two vote-getters for each of the nine seats go on to the general election.

Those who supported dividing Seattle into districts said it would encourage grassroots campaigning and decrease the need for big donations. The old system favored candidates with deeper pockets, they said.

But through the primary, independent expenditures have more than doubled from the previous record – and this election cycle is far from over. Those are donations from outside groups to help – or hurt – a candidate.