Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
NRP Latest Updates: Biden drops out

Election 2021: Harrell leads Seattle mayor race; Davison ahead in city attorney contest

Bruce Harrell stands at a podium waving his right arm to supporters.
Ted S. Warren
The Associated Press
Bruce Harrell, who is running against Lorena González in the race for mayor of Seattle, waves after speaking to supporters Tuesday night in Seattle. Harrell is leading the race after the first ballot count.

The first round of results are in for the Nov. 2 election. We have updates on mayoral races in Seattle and Tacoma, the Seattle city attorney contest, Seattle City Council and King County Council races and more.

In one of the most-watched races of the night — the Seattle mayor race — Bruce Harrell is ahead of M. Lorena González by almost 39,000 votes.

At an election results watch party in Belltown, Harrell addressed both solving homelessness and reforming policing — but pledged a vow to unify Seattle.

"I understand racism and unfairness by our police department, that all communities want to be safe. ... Let us eradicate racism and unreasonable force," he said. "But I want our children safe, our grandchildren safe. So this should be a unifying discussion."

“We’re going to bring Seattle back together,” Harrell told the crowd.

Lorena Gonzalez greets supporters Tuesday at her election night gathering at hill City Tap House in Columbia City.
Ted S. Warren
The Associated Press
Lorena Gonzalez greets supporters Tuesday at her election night gathering at hill City Tap House in Columbia City.

González, for her part, isn't conceding, noting late-arriving votes and “the fact that the votes of so many of our voters, who tend to vote at the very end, have not been counted means we may not know until late in the week or next week who the next mayor will be.”

At her party at Hill City Tap House in Columbia City, she stressed that the fights she campaigned on were just the beginning, regardless of the results.

“We are so proud of this campaign, and every day we fought hard for each other and a better Seattle and that work begins, it just begins. We will not stop until we have the Seattle we all deserve,” González told supporters.

In Tacoma, early returns show incumbent Victoria Woodards heading toward another four years as Tacoma’s mayor. Woodards is ahead of her challenger, Steve Haverly, with nearly 58 percent of the vote.

At the Tacoma Elks Lodge on Tuesday night, after some singing and dancing, Woodards gave what sounded like a victory speech. She said the next four years will be about continuing the work of transforming Tacoma with a heavy focus on pandemic recovery, affordable housing and public safety. She said that starts with replacing more than 40 police officers the city has lost.

“But also making sure that we are providing safety in a way that is meaningful to every member of this community,” she explained. “More cops in every neighborhood doesn’t make everyone feel safe, but it doesn't mean we shouldn’t have more cops.”

Woodards says that means addressing every issue that makes people feel safe, including better parks and roads. She also doubled down on her commitment to making Tacoma an anti-racist city, stressing that City of Destiny should apply to everyone.

In the race for Seattle city attorney, Republican candidate Ann Davison has more than 58 percent of the votes counted so far – a 17 percent lead over rival Nicole Thomas-Kennedy, a public defender and self-proclaimed abolitionist.

Speaking at a party inside an old fire station in northeast Seattle, Davison thanked supporters for the strong initial result.

"We are all connected," she said. "And this is the city that leads our region. We are all connected here. And when we focus on the commonalities that connect us as human beings, we are going to go a long way. And we can do that in this city.”

In races for Seattle City Council seats, Position 8 incumbent Teresa Mosqueda declared victory on Tuesday night. Although she is leading opponent Kenneth Wilson by a relatively small margin, her lead is only likely to grow in the coming days.

Meanwhile, Fremont Brewing co-owner Sara Nelson, who is running against attorney and arts activist Nikkita Oliver for Position 9, is up by 20 points – a margin Oliver is unlikely to make up.

And though Nelson says she’s not declaring victory yet, she says she’s looking forward to becoming a unifier on the council.

“I think the key thing is to try to bring the city together,” Nelson said. “And if it's me on council, I want my supporters to know that the way I represented myself on the campaign trail I will, I will lead that way. And I want the people that didn't vote for me to know that I'll represent them too.” 

Oliver, for their part, says their campaign is important because it represents progress.

“But what about the old council and old policies were actually good for Black and brown people, were good for racial justice or good for economic justice, or good for labor rights or working people? And I think most people will realize very quickly that those policies didn't work before, and they're not going to work now,” Oliver said.

Tacoma City Council incumbent Catherine Ushka has an overwhelming lead in her bid for re-election to the District 4 seat. She leads Israel James McKinney with nearly 66 percent of the vote. And the Tacoma City Council will welcome three new members no matter how the results shake out. The races for Districts 2 and 5 are wide open as is the at-large Position 6 seat. In that race, Kiara Daniels leads with nearly 58 percent. Sarah Rumbaugh is ahead in the District 2 race with nearly 64 percent, and Joe Bushnell leads the District 5 race with 56 percent.

Elections staff in King and Pierce counties told KNKX that they will each have one results drop Tuesday night. Both counties are expected to release updated results late Wednesday afternoon.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.








To see King County's election results, go here. For Pierce County results, go here.

For a complete list of election results in Washington state, visit the Secretary of State's election results page.

Updated: November 3, 2021 at 12:18 PM PDT
Adds Tacoma City Council information
Updated: November 3, 2021 at 11:28 AM PDT
Adds details from Victoria Woodards' election night speech.
Updated: November 2, 2021 at 11:11 PM PDT
Expands comments from Harrell, adds location of his watch party.
Updated: November 2, 2021 at 10:57 PM PDT
Adds comments from M. Lorena Gonzalez's election night gathering (from reporter Grace Madigan)
Updated: November 2, 2021 at 10:43 PM PDT
Adds comments from Ann Davison (from reporter Bellamy Pailthorp)
Adds information about Seattle City Council races and comments from Sara Nelson and Nikkita Oliver (from reporter Lilly Ana Fowler)
Updated: November 2, 2021 at 9:49 PM PDT
Adds Gonzalez quote.
Updated: November 2, 2021 at 9:19 PM PDT
More information added about races. Quote from Harrell added.
Updated: November 2, 2021 at 8:51 PM PDT
Photo of Bruce Harrell on election night added.
Updated: November 2, 2021 at 8:16 PM PDT
First election results in from King, Pierce counties. Headline updated to reflect numbers.
Bellamy Pailthorp covers the environment for KNKX with an emphasis on climate justice, human health and food sovereignty. She enjoys reporting about how we will power our future while maintaining healthy cultures and livable cities. Story tips can be sent to
Lilly Ana Fowler covers social justice issues investigating inequality with an emphasis on labor and immigration. Story tips can be sent to
Grace Madigan is KNKX's former Arts & Culture reporter. Her stories focused on how people express themselves and connect to their communities through art, music, media, food, and sport.
Kari Plog is a former KNKX reporter who covered the people and systems in Pierce, Thurston and Kitsap counties, with an emphasis on police accountability.