ELECTION 2021: Here’s who the 34th District Democrats endorsed in a marathon meeting

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

With 5 weeks to go until primary voting begins, our area’s biggest political organization – the 34th District Democrats – met online last night to make their endorsements. It took almost five hours, even with a decision late in the evening to delay one set of endorsements until next month.

Toward the meeting’s start, chair Carla Rogers acknowledged the event had brought a boost in membership (only those who were members by last month’s meeting could vote), surmising that was mostly because of the King County Executive race. Membership was announced at 548, and the onscreen counter showed attendance last night peaking at close to 400. At the start of the night, group leaders gave a pitch on staying engaged even after the vote.

A few notes first: The 34th legislative district includes West Seattle, White Center, Vashon/Maury Islands, and part of Burien. The group requires candidates to identify themselves as Democrats to be eligible for endorsement nominations, even for nonpartisan positions. To win endorsement, 60 percent support was required; if nobody got that on the first ballot, the top two votegetters went to a second ballot, and if neither got 60 percent, the remaining options were dual endorsement or no endorsement (the latter happened in one big race). There were up to four speeches for each candidate nominated – potentially two in favor (including the candidates themselves if the original nominator gave them the floor), two against.

Rogers said the meeting recording will be posted online within a few days. We watched it all in real time, 6:30 pm until almost 11:30; here are our toplines:

KING COUNTY EXECUTIVE: Before the meeting, it was expected that this would be the major drama of the night – with a longtime local leader vs. a rising star – but in the end, it wasn’t close.

The meeting was 3 1/2 hours old by the time they got to this race past 10 pm. Three-term incumbent Dow Constantine and first-term State Sen. Joe Nguyen, both West Seattle residents, were nominated. Nguyen spoke first; he quickly cited legislative successes and said it was a difficult decision to run for County Executive, but he’s seen a lot of change in the past 12 years and contends the county’s “been treading water for too long.” Homelessness has “only gotten worse”; “inequities have risen dramatically”; three-fourths of the county general fund goes to the “criminal legal system.” “Our future is now,” he declared. “Despite our successes at the state level,” solutions need to be implemented locally. “It takes action and not just words.”

Grace Stiller spoke against endorsing Nguyen, saying she appreciates his legislative work and “really wish(es) he would stay in that position.” Janine Anzalota then spoke for Nguyen, echoing his declaration that local solutions are required to carry out even state-funded initiatives. She said he has “direct executive leadership” and “lived experience” that would serve him well in dealing with the “most vulnerable communities.” Then another speech against endorsing Nguyen, from King Conservation District supervisor Chris Porter. He took objection to Nguyen signing a letter in November arguing for loosening some pandemic business restrictions. Porter also took issue with Nguyen’s listing of achievements, saying they are incomplete and there is more work to be done in Olympia. He “has a term that he needs to complete.”

Next, Constantine began by noting that he has been a chair of the group. Against the pandemic, he declared, he took “swift, decisive action” that saved lives. He insisted that “we’re taking bold action against homelessness,” housing thousands, and also taking action with the Best Starts for Kids levy (now up for renewal). He mentioned gun-violence-prevention investments, working to keep kids in school, and reducing youth incarceration (9 in custody today, compared to 90 a day when he took office, he said). He also mentioned working to electrify Metro. He said his parents inspired his commitment to public service.

Speaking against nominating Constantine was Jessie Boucher, who said that a fourth term is too long for Constantine to serve. “It’s time for change.” She mentioned Constantine giving tax money to the Mariners, and the county’s spending on public safety, including building the new youth justice center. Also, health equity: “Dow likes to tout high vaccination numbers but fails to mention that the (most-vaccinated) are white.” She also alleged he had set but not met lofty climate goals. “No more platitudes, no more broken promises.”

State Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon then spoke for the incumbent, harkening back to the year 2009, when Constantine first won election to the post. The county spent 90 percent of its budget on public safety back then, he said, and has reduced that. It’s improved transit, with more RapidRide lines on the way, and transit usage increasing. He said Constantine is known in Olympia for his ability “to get things done.” He said Constantine’s action on the pandemic saved lives. He said he is not criticizing his legislative colleague Nguyen, but the county needs Constantine’s “wisdom.” Marlene Allbright then spoke against endorsing Constantine, saying income inequality has risen dramatically during his 12 years in office. Six years after Constantine and then-Seattle mayor Ed Murray declared homelessness was an emergency, it’s only gotten worse, and his vow to end youth homelessness by now has been broken. “The tranquilizing drug of graduality” – a phrase she quoted from Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. – “is a luxury we cannot afford.” She also noted a recent report of the county’s inequity in contract-granting.

RESULTS: Constantine was endorsed with 70 percent support.

SEATTLE MAYOR: Nominated for endorsement in this no-incumbent race were six of the 15 candidates – Lorena González, Bruce Harrell, Colleen Echohawk, Jessyn Farrell, Lance Randall, Andrew Grant Houston. City Councilmember Lisa Herbold opened the speeches by saying González (who [corrected] did not speak) – a West Seattleite – is a strong “partner” in fighting for this area as well as the city. Harrell said he’s trying to run a “positive” campaign and plugged his “race and data initiative” as he did in last weekend’s 34th DDs-presented candidate forum (WSB coverage here). Echohawk, as she did in that forum, said she’s running to carry out “transformational change” in the city. Farrell got words of support from a former legislative constituent. Randall did not speak but was supported by David Toledo and Phil Tavel, who both said they felt the candidate could solve the city’s persistent problems. Houston declared, “We need change,” and said he’s the best candidate to address crises such as climate and housing.

RESULTS: This went to a second ballot, which under the rules was a runoff between the top two vote-getters on the first ballot, González and Harrell: neither got 60 percent, so there was one more try – dual endorsement or no endorsement. The latter won, 133 to 132, so the 34th DDs are not endorsing anyone in the Seattle Mayor’s race, at least for the primary.

SEATTLE CITY COUNCIL POSITION 8: Nominated for endorsement were two of the 11 candidates, Teresa Mosqueda and Kate Martin. Mosqueda, the incumbent and a West Seattle resident, couldn’t be there because of a family emergency; Fitzgibbon spoke in support of her.

RESULTS: Mosqueda was endorsed, with 73%.

SEATTLE CITY COUNCIL, POSITION 9: Two of the seven candidates, Brianna Thomas and Sara Nelson, were nominated for endorsement. Porter spoke in support of Thomas, a West Seattle resident.

RESULTS: Thomas was endorsed, with 62%.

SEATTLE CITY ATTORNEY: Two of the three candidates, Pete Holmes and Nicole Thomas-Kennedy, were nominated.

RESULTS: Holmes, the incumbent, was endorsed with 70%.

Last night included some non-Seattle races too, from areas that are partly within the 34th boundaries:

KING COUNTY COUNCIL POSITION 5: Nominated for endorsement were incumbent Dave Upthegrove and Dr. Shukri Olow.

RESULTS: This went to a third ballot, after Upthegrove fell just short of 60 percent on the first two, and the end result was 75% support of a dual endorsement for Upthegrove and Olow.

BURIEN CITY COUNCIL: In three separate votes, the endorsees were Jimmy Matta, 90% support; Sarah Moore, 80%; Krystal Marx, 79% support.

BLOCK ENDORSEMENT: Endorsed by acclamation (eligibility for this required running unopposed or with no Democrat opponents) as the night began:

Best Starts for Kids levy renewal
Superior Court Judge Andrea Robertson
Burien City Council candidate Hugo Garcia

DELAYED: The three Seattle Port Commission seats up for a vote this year were originally also on last night’s agenda, but because the meeting was running so long, participants decided to delay those votes to next month’s meeting, July 14th.

ALSO ANNOUNCED: The 34th DDs will have a picnic September 18th at Lincoln Park.

AS FOR THE ELECTION: Official primary-election day is August 3rd; ballots will be mailed about three weeks in advance, and voting starts as soon as you get yours. The full lists of candidates for all positions is on the King County Elections website, along with links to candidates’ websites.


33 Replies to "ELECTION 2021: Here's who the 34th District Democrats endorsed in a marathon meeting"

  • MrsT June 10, 2021 (10:41 am)

    And with this, I can no longer call myself a democrat. Absurd to endorse the status quo which is undeniably not working. I encourage everyone to dig deep into the policy proposals put forth by progressive candidates Andrew Grant Houston, Joe Nguyen, Nikkita Oliver, and Nicole Thomas-Kennedy. Incrementalism will be the death of us all. The time for bravery is now.

    • Ivan Weiss June 10, 2021 (11:50 am)

      In the case of Nikkita Oliver, they are not a Democrat, they make it a point to tell voters they are not a Democrat, and they refuse to fill out Democratic Party questionnaires, that would offer them the opportunity to state their positions. So why should a Democratic Party organization, which exists to elect declared Democrats, waste its time even considering a candidate who pointedly rejects them?

      ;In the case of Andrew Grant Houston, this is the guy who said he “visualizes a Seattle without cars.” So hooray for him, he gets the Jort vote. Most of the rest of us aren’t interested in that.

      In the case of Joe Nguyen, he is up against an incumbent who has made the 34th District Democrats his base of operations for the past quarter century and more, who arguably has given more of himself to that organization over that period than any other person, and who, most to the point, has demonstrated an uncanny ability to pack 34th District Democrats endorsement meetings with his supporters, as he did last night.

      I wouldn’t worry about Joe. He’s doing just fine outside the 34th, and no one should underestimate his chances by November, as Dow’s hand-picked candidate for State Senate did in 2018 – and lost in a 17-point blowout.

      • Scubafrog June 10, 2021 (5:47 pm)

        So Joe *might* win Disappointing-Dow’s spot, and hang around hang around until a better position comes around.  Never trust politicians with too much ambition.  We need people we can count on.  Joe demonstrated we can’t count on him, we need someone with integrity in Olympia.  And King County Exec.

      • MrsT June 10, 2021 (5:49 pm)

        I take your point about Oliver. My brain glazed over their stance on Democrats.

        I’d highly suggest you look more closely at AGH’s actual policy plans for the city, as they are thoughtfully laid out and make sense in context. (I am also a Jort fan)

  • Matt O. June 10, 2021 (10:55 am)

    Travelling down the same twisted, endless, directionless path with the SCC endorsements of Thomas & Mosqueda.Similar thoughts on advancing Gonzales for mayor.Very frustrating that this is the ‘best’ according to the 34th district leadership….

  • needforchange June 10, 2021 (11:10 am)

    Can anyone point to a moderate Democrat?  I am more of a center person maybe a bit republican leaning (no, not nut job right) and would vote for a center leaning domocrat in ANY election.  Years and years of proven failure by far left progressive politicians..we need a change of direction.  I beg for a moderate candidate so I can actually vote for people who have a chance of winning a makiy positive change.

  • Sandra L. Adams June 10, 2021 (11:37 am)

    Check out Kate Martin, Seattle City Council Pos. 8

  • TM7302 June 10, 2021 (11:46 am)

    Looks like more of the same that isn’t working.  Does anyone really think that Brianna Thomas is any different than her boss, Lorena Gonzalez?  It’s time for a change. Sara Nelson has started a business, created jobs, paid taxes and understands the business climate in Seattle, what it takes to survive with an activist Seattle Council in power.  My only concern with Sara is that Fremont Brewing needs more lagers.  : )

  • aRF June 10, 2021 (11:50 am)

    Fact check for Jessie Boucher: the white demographic is the fourth most vaccinated in King County (1st dose and full vaccination), behind Asian American, American Indian/Alaskan Native, and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander.

  • anonyme June 10, 2021 (12:13 pm)

    I would echo the comments above.  I consider myself an independent, but have to register as a Democrat if I want to exercise my full voting rights.  I find it antiquated that we are forced to declare allegiance to one of two parties, both of which are completely whack.  I do not agree with ANY of the endorsements made by the 34th.  I don’t know what to do other than to quit voting, as there is no one I feel comfortable voting for anymore.  I keep saying that there should be a “none of the above” option on the ballot, so it could be registered how deeply opposed many voters are to the direction our local government has taken.  Instead, we have an oxymoronic amalgamation of status quo extremist activists who do not represent any kind of reasonable choice – much less a meaningful change.

    • Jort June 10, 2021 (1:56 pm)

      This is a lie, you don’t have to register as a Democrat to vote in our non-presidential primaries. There is no party registration in Washington. The top two candidates in the primary make it through to the general. Please don’t pretend like you’re being forced into some completely fabricated moral dilemma. If you don’t like the candidates endorsed by 34th Dems, then you can vote for whatever Loren Culp-esque nut job the Republicans choose to rally behind. And nobody will ever know how you voted. 

      • anonyme June 10, 2021 (4:13 pm)

        How odd.  I have been corrected in both directions on this issue, and on this very blog.  I’ve looked online at all the ‘official’ websites and can’t find a definitive answer.  Oh well.  It still doesn’t change how I feel about these candidates, but it’s also nothing for you lads to get your tighty whities in such knots about. Oh, the chafing.

    • Ivan Weiss June 10, 2021 (2:00 pm)


      There is no, repeat, no partisan registration in the state of Washington, and to the best of my knowledge, never has been. Nobody registers as a Democrat, or as a Republican, or as any member of any other party here. No one “forces you to declare allegiance” to anything or anybody, to be able to vote, or not vote. 

    • Pelicans June 10, 2021 (4:22 pm)

      Dear Anonyme,I’ve been enjoying your comments for years. In regard to your latest post, I would suggest registering as an independent voter. True, you cannot vote in some primaries.  But you are not pigeon-holed into only being able to vote for candidates of one of two antiquated political parties. 

      • Jort June 10, 2021 (6:47 pm)

        Hey! Can you send me a link to the registration form I should use to “register” as an independent? I’ll be willing to wait a long time since that form doesn’t exist and will require a fundamental change in state voting laws, but if you can come up with something, awesome! I’d love to see it!

  • David Kannas June 10, 2021 (3:33 pm)

    That the 34th endorsed the incumbent city attorney tells me all I need to know about the 34th. I will no longer support them with my money or presence. Pete needs a new job, one that doesn’t included refusing to prosecute crooks. 

  • AM June 10, 2021 (3:35 pm)

    OMG!  Seriously!  I am with MRST.  So disappointing.  Pete Holmes? Teresa M? Even Dow- they need to be removed if this city has any chance of regaining its beauty and pulse.  These are the same people year after year.  We need a change- these people are not doing anything or helping our city.  I am so disappointed with these stats.   What have these people done for our city? 

  • M June 10, 2021 (4:50 pm)

    The leaders of the meeting did an excellent job under the circumstances, and deserve a lot of credit. This was my first time as a voting member. Not knowing how these endorsements worked, I assumed it would be simple voting, not staged nominations and speeches that prolonged the actual endorsement vote. It might be parliamentary procedure, but it’s exclusionary–except for those who already have platforms or don’t mind speaking out of turn to make the process more painful for others. I joined to throw support behind my preferred candidates, I didn’t expect all the filler. We need the leaders of political and neighborhood organizations to make it easier for people to participate and lift new voices. Not everyone can show up for 5 hours on a weeknight and sit through prepared speeches for and against and 60% threshold re-votes, but maybe that’s the point–keep it exclusive? 

  • Do you want to join the club? June 10, 2021 (6:37 pm)

    Political parties are just large private clubs.  Wasn’t it Karl Marx that once said: “I refuse to join a club that would have me as a member?”  Oh yeah, that’s right it was Groucho Marx!

  • WSB June 10, 2021 (7:20 pm)

    Here is the deal on voter registration/party.

    You do NOT register as an independent, Democrat, Republican, or anything else.

    BUT we did have AN election in which you had to declare a party affiliation to vote – last year’s presidential primary:

    That election only. And it did not apply to anything but that particular matter.

    • Jort June 10, 2021 (11:14 pm)

      Important distinction: that is a “declaration” of party affiliation, NOT a registration. There is no party registration in Washington and anybody who says otherwise is 100 percent completely mistaken.

  • Jort June 10, 2021 (11:17 pm)

    One of my favorite “Seattle comment section” things is seeing a bunch of people who are obviously not Democrats come in and complain about how “I’m a Democrat, but THIS time the Democrats have gone TOO FAR.” Give me a break. Go vote for Loren Culp. Democrats are the overwhelming, blown-out-of-the-water majority in this city, and it’s not even close by a million miles. Somehow our chattering class thinks there’s this big silent majority of “centrists” ready to “take back” Seattle from the “far-left.” WRONG. The far-left keeps winning in Seattle because Seattle is far-left. Deal with it.

    • CuriousQuestioner June 11, 2021 (7:39 am)

      And the majority of people in Seattle drive cars. Deal with it, Jort ;) 

      • Jort June 11, 2021 (11:05 am)

        Enjoy it while you can! Because single occupancy vehicle mode share as a percentage of total trips taken is dropping every year. While “liberal” and “global warming concerned” Seattle still hypocritically has a disproportionally high amount of cars per capita compared to other major U.S. cities, that per capita percentage has reached its peak and is steadily dropping. So, good news! Fewer and fewer people are choosing to own and drive cars all the time! Which is also good news on the policy front: it means we can start to disinvest from our car culture infrastructure addiction death spiral and begin investing where Seattle is seeing growth: sustainable transportation, like transit, bikes and walking.  The era of the car is passing, we will be spending less on dumb cars, and it will be hard for people, but it’s happening, and, yes, everybody will, in fact, DEAL WITH IT.

    • Adam June 11, 2021 (8:22 am)

      Actually, that’s a very good point!  Now look out your window and see Seattle on fire

      • Time of change June 11, 2021 (9:50 am)

        Without the fire, the phoenix never rises from the ashes. Resisted transformation can be a chaotic and painful process, as we’ve seen!

        One thing is clear, it’s a time of change, and new voices, especially those which have been oppressed, are needing a chance to rise and lead.

        I’m with others who encourage digging in deep to the issues and listening to all the candidates offer, and then, vote with your heart.

        It’s easy to cling to old perspectives and judgements, what if everyone opened their minds and listened more, and also considered others lives and needs, before voting in this next election? 

      • Jort June 11, 2021 (10:59 am)

        OK! Looked out my window. Oh my gosh Seattle’s not on fire! So weird! Can you show me the fire? I’m willing to wait a long time SINCE IT ISN’T ON FIRE. Just because Fox News says it’s happening doesn’t mean it’s actually happening. Another one of my favorite things: people from outside Seattle who tell me what’s happening in my own city because they think it fits their political narrative. Those people can screw right off.

    • Outsider June 11, 2021 (8:27 am)

      Democrats are the overwhelming, blown-out-of-the-water majority in this city, and it’s not even close by a million miles.

      We can tell.

    • MrsT June 11, 2021 (8:52 am)

      Durkan is by no means far left. And I’d argue that a lot of folks who run on a far left platform usually govern way closer to the center. 

      • Jort June 11, 2021 (11:09 am)

        I would agree with you on that one! Durkan, who absolutely 100 percent sucks at the job and could not be more disinterested in the basics of decent governance, is not far left! But, as we saw in council elections recently, people were offered the choice between “centrist” candidates, like pizza parlor trivia host Phil Tavel and candidates that were portrayed as “FAR LEFT LOONIES,” like career politician Lisa Herbold (not actually “far left” but perhaps somewhat loony) and they chose the people to the left. Why? Because people in Seattle are, in fact, liberal. Also, in fact, they are not yearning for a Republican daddy to save them. That is a fantasy of comment sections and legacy newspaper editorial boards and it has been disproven so many times that you’d think people would begin to accept it, but they don’t.

  • RememberDH June 11, 2021 (2:10 am)

    Does anyone have a problem with Gonzales and Thomas regarding their zealous advocacy for Ed Murray when he was steeped in allegations of sexual assault ?  The young victim, by the way, has since passed away.  We’ve spent the last four years screaming that elected officials should have higher morals and character.  Gonzales and Thomas chose the money and the power over character. Now they want your vote. Will you give it to them?

  • Pessoa June 11, 2021 (6:59 am)

    Seattle isn’t far left, it’s coalition of champagne socialists and “bootstrap” conservatives, each indignantly mouthing the ideals of their respective parties but always banding together when policies become too radical and threaten their accumulation of wealth .  Like everything else, politics are an illusion in Seattle.  

    • Frog June 11, 2021 (11:28 am)

      Seattle is far far far left when it comes to performative wokeness and virtue signalling.  But of course politics is multi-layered and n-dimensional, and Jort way oversimplifies to represent it as a one-dimensional left-right spectrum.  Seattle seems to have many factions:  1) big business and developers (not the largest in votes, but huge with campaign cash); 2) public employees, including teachers and college / university; 3) the Lexus Left; 4) the old middle class; 5) the working poor and homeless; 6) students; 7) identity-left; and 8) radical socialists.  (I have never met a “bootstrap conservative” in Seattle.  Are you sure they didn’t all move to Idaho?)  These factions also overlap so many individual voters belong to more than one.  Assembling a winning coalition is very complicated.  It helps to have big business + developer money, to hire political consultants, to organize focus groups, to craft the optimal combination of policy promises, virtue signals, dog whistles, and woke buzzwords to hold a coalition together.

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