Friends—ballots went out this week, so I hope we don’t need to remind you to TURN. THEM. IN. if you get one. The stakes remain high. After historic uprisings, this cycle’s local elections calls the question our communities have been asking for years: What is the role of policing? And really, what is the role of local government? Whether or not you know the names of your city attorneys or municipal judge candidates, housing, homelessness, criminal justice all are on the ballot.
Based on what we saw in the primaries, we’re keeping a close eye on Spokane, Burien, and Yakima. In these three places, first-time candidates of color are poised to win key city council elections. Below you’ll get a pretty nerdy, deep-dive into precinct-level data. If you don’t have that kind of time, here are the bullet points that will make you sound smart in your next meeting or dinner party:
1️⃣ Spokane: Naghmana Sherazi came in second in the primary by only 4 votes, but has a path towards a majority
2️⃣ Burien: Hugo Garcia did well with working-class voters, but needs to make some inroads with white, affluent liberals to win in November. Incumbent Krystal Marx is poised to keep her seat but can’t take for granted the voters that got her here
3️⃣ Yakima: Progressive Danny Herrera showed out in the primary and is well positioned to win back one of Yakima’s majority Latino districts, currently held by pro-Trump conspiracy theorist Jason White. BUT, less than 400 voters turned out- so motivation is the name of the game
We came together to make sure our communities were counted. Now, we’re making sure our communities have the political power we deserve. In Spokane, WCA member organizations like APIC-Spokane, Raiz of Planned Parenthood, Morning Star Baptist Church, Spokane Pride, HBPA, are informing voters through candidate forums. In Yakima, OneAmerica, Nuestra Casa, La Casa Hogar, Yakima Pride, Progreso, our sister organization WCA Action Fund are on track to phonebank more than 15,000 voters. And in Burien, Latino Community Fund and Para Los Ninos are doing bilingual canvassing of infrequent Latino voters to increase turnout. When we say building political will in our communities, it starts with having clarity about what’s going on on the ground. With that in mind, we’ve got nerds. We’ve got numbers. We’ve got maps. So buckle up, folks!
First, a bonus action: We know this shouldn’t even be a point of argument, but we need people to sign onto our vaccine support letter. Folks need to know than vaccine mandates are safe, effective, and have our support. We’re still in the midst of a pandemic which will only end when everyone who’s eligible gets vaccinated. These things really work.
Spokane City Council District No. 1
Naghmana Sherazi is a Pakistani immigrant with an excellent mask game and has built a candidacy around a compassionate approach to solving Spokane’s homelessness crisis. She wants to extend the eviction moratorium and increase affordable housing options. The city’s corporate realtors hate this and have begun spending record amounts against Sherazi.
This is a test case in much-needed growth areas for the progressive ecosystem. As we saw with the disappointing third place finish for Lucrecia “Lu” Hill in District No. 3, we can fundraise for first-time candidates of color, but we’re still trying to solve for a lack of a robust organizing infrastructure—particularly the farther out from the downtown core.
While Jonathan Bingle’s 47% was enough to put him in first place, he didn’t win many majorities. His best showing was in Shiloh/Lyons (52%) and placed third in Downtown/Peaceful Valley (Sherazi 40%, Jasmin 33%, Bingle 27%). Sherazi is also likely to win Logan in the General Election (Bingle 35%, Jasmin 34%, Sherazi 31%).
Burien City Council, Pos. 1:
Hugo Garcia is lifelong Burien resident and Sounders fan with an excellent Twitter presence. He’s running to represent one of the fastest diversifying cities in our state, and is up against a Christian theocract who wants to “establish God’s kingdom in Burien by discipling, or mentoring, city government to follow the example of Jesus.” We wish we were quoting from a bad SNL sketch.
Garcia’s strongest performances were at Southern Heights (61%), Beverly Park (58%), Boulevard Park (58%), all in the working-class Highline area. The man who doesn’t know about the separation of church and state Martin Barrett’s best showings were affluent residential areas like Three Tree Point (70%), Maplewild (64%), and Gregory Heights (61%).
Burien City Council, Pos. 7
Deputy Mayor Krystal Marx is a staunch progressive who also serves as the Executive Director of Seattle Pride. Throughout her tenure, she has weathered some wildly racist and xenophobic campaign stunts. But through it all, she has, in her words, “shut it down,” and stuck with community.
Marx won every neighborhood except Three Tree Point and Maplewild to general election opponent Stephanie Mora. However, there’s work to be done in this race, and eliminated candidates will play a significant factor. John White won several precincts, doing better with upper middle class voters, with top showings at Maplewild (23%), Shorewood (22%), and Seahurst (22%). Assuming White voters will go for Mora, Marx will need to pick up those who cast their ballots for other eliminated candidates John Potter and Elissa Fernandez.
Yakima City Council, Dist. 2:
Danny Hererra is a high school teacher born and raised in the historically Latino Southeast Yakima. He’s deeply committed to mentoring young people in the community that shaped him and is running for a seat currently held by a Trump-supporting, Covid conspiracy theorist who took advantage of low-turnout to win in a majority-Latino district.
Less than 400 people voted in this primary election (yikes!). Herrera had a great showing defeating Republican-supported Edgar Hernandez, 37%-25%, in a non-partisan race that is shaping up to fall along party lines. Herrera is well-positioned to win. But as it so often goes, to get a majority, he will need good turnout in a historically disenfranchised district ⏩ Volunteer and Donate
With Herrera soundly beating Hernandez, the race hinges on how voters for student and Yakima County Elections staffer Raúl Martinez (21%) and realtor Christina Martinez (15%) swing. R. Martinez won the southeastern corner of the district, and his voters appear promising for Herrera. C. Martinez performed better in the rest of the district, and how her voters will go, seems more up for grabs.