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caption: Mayoral candidate Bruce Harrell reacts to initial results. His campaign gathered at a restaurant in Seattle's Leschi neighborhood on the night of election primaries, Aug. 3, 2021.
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Mayoral candidate Bruce Harrell reacts to initial results. His campaign gathered at a restaurant in Seattle's Leschi neighborhood on the night of election primaries, Aug. 3, 2021.
Credit: KUOW Photo/Amy Radil

Who's leading in Seattle races on primary night

With a clap of thunder, the polls closed at 8 p.m. on Tuesday in Seattle, marking the end of seemingly sleepy races. Some of the results, however, were a jolt.

Bruce Harrell, the former Seattle city council member, leads a pack of 15 candidates seeking to replace Mayor Jenny Durkan. Durkan is not running for reelection. Harrell received 38% of the vote counted as of Tuesday night. Lorena Gonzalez, current council president, had 29% of the vote.

RELATED: Full 2021 Primary Election Results

Harrell was raised in Seattle’s Central Area, the son of Black and Japanese-American parents. He said his childhood played a role in the issues he raised during the primary campaign.

"I talked about my personal background: my Black grandparents came here for jobs and opportunity, my Japanese grandparents came here for jobs and opportunity. So we want to have a vibrant system.”

Gonzalez said her candidacy was also shaped by her childhood. She was raised in Central Washington in a family of migrant farm workers. She said her focus on issues affecting working people is something that differentiates her from other candidates.

“I represent working families," Gonzalez said. "I represent working people in this city who struggle with poverty and income inequality every single day."

Colleen Echohawk, former executive director of the Chief Seattle Club, had been touted as a front-runner, but appears to have been edged out of the race, with 8% of the Tuesday night count.

Meanwhile, long-time City Attorney Pete Holmes is fighting for his political life. In a near three-way tie, challenger Ann Davison is ahead of Holmes in the early vote count. And challenger Nicole Thomas-Kennedy trails him by less than 600 votes. Holmes is trying for his fourth term. The top two vote getters go on to the general election.

Voters in District 5 will recall that Davison ran for the city council position there (going by Davison Sattler), focusing on homelessness. In one of her plans, reported on by the Stranger, Davison focused on moving thousands of unhoused people to warehouses.

Thomas-Kennedy, a former public defender, has built her campaign on shifting the civil division of the office to go after “wage theft, corporate landlords, and oil companies that destroy the environment.”

Teresa Mosqueda, incumbent city council member for one of the two at-large positions, had more than half the vote on Tuesday night, guaranteeing her a spot in the general.

For the other at-large position, the race is on.

Sara Nelson, owner of Fremont Brewing, leads the race with just over 42% of the vote.

Nikkita Oliver, a social justice advocate who ran unsuccessfully for Seattle mayor in 2017, is in second place with almost 35% of the vote. The winner of the November election will replace Lorena Gonzalez, who stepped aside to run for mayor.

The next ballot count will post on Wednesday afternoon.