Hacks & Wonks 2023 Post-Primary Roundtable Part 2

Hacks & Wonks 2023 Post-Primary Roundtable Part 2

For this Friday show, we present Part 2 of the Hacks & Wonks 2023 Post-Primary Roundtable which was live-streamed on August 8, 2023 with special guests - journalists Daniel Beekman, Guy Oron, and Melissa Santos.

In Part 2, the panel breaks down primary election results for Seattle City Council races in Districts 6 and 7 - which both feature incumbents employing different strategies to hold their seats - and explore whether any overarching narratives are on display in the Seattle results. The discussion then moves on to contrasting races in King County Council Districts 4 and 8, before wrapping up with what each panelist will be paying most attention to as we head towards the November general election.

Find Part 1 on our website and in your podcast feed.

About the Guests

Daniel Beekman

Daniel Beekman is the Seattle Times politics and communities reporter.

Find Daniel Beekman on Twitter/X at @DBeekman.

Guy Oron

Guy Oron is the Staff Reporter for Real Change, covering local news, labor, policing, the environment, criminal legal issues and politics. His writing has been featured in a number of publications including the South Seattle Emerald, The Nation and The Stranger. Raised in Seattle, Guy brings a community and student organizer perspective to their journalism, highlighting stories of equity and justice.

Find Guy Oron on Twitter/X at @GuyOron.

Melissa Santos

Melissa Santos is one of two Seattle-based reporters for Axios. She has spent the past decade covering Washington politics and the Legislature, including five years covering the state Capitol for The News Tribune in Tacoma and three years for Crosscut, a nonprofit news website. She was a member of The Seattle Times editorial board from 2017 to 2019, where she wrote columns and opinion pieces focused on state government.

Find Melissa Santos on Twitter/X at @MelissaSantos1.


Hacks & Wonks 2023 Post-Primary Roundtable Livestream | August 8th, 2023


[00:00:00] Shannon Cheng: Welcome to Hacks & Wonks. I’m Shannon Cheng, Producer for the show. You’re listening to Part 2 of our 2023 Post-Primary Roundtable, with guests Daniel Beekman, Guy Oron and Melissa Santos, that was originally aired live on Tuesday, August 8th. Part 1 was our last episode – you can find it in your podcast feed or on our website officialhacksandwonks.com. You can also go to the site for full video from the event and a full text transcript of the show. Thanks for tuning in!

[00:00:42] Crystal Fincher: So also want to talk about the next district here - a race with an incumbent here - Dan Strauss and Pete Hanning. One where there was quite a bit of money in this race, quite a bit of spending. Dan Strauss - this was really interesting because as we touched on before, we saw with Tammy Morales really leaning into her record and a seeming justification and approval of that and almost a mandate from voters to continue on in the same direction based on how she represented herself - different strategy here and someone looking like they're running away from their record a bit or saying - Hey, I'm course correcting here. So do people know what they're getting? Do people know what they're expecting? But still a strong result for an incumbent here, with Dan Strauss currently at 51.77% of the vote in District 6. And then Pete Hanning, who was the Seattle Times-endorsed candidate with 29.32% of the vote, despite almost over $96,000 raised. How did you see this race, Melissa?

[00:01:58] Melissa Santos: I think Dan has probably looked at this a little more closely, but I did find it interesting that Dan Strauss - getting back to Dan Beekman's point earlier - was Dan Strauss was just saying "Defund the Police" was a mistake - he just said it straight up. That's just - he was emphasizing that. And I - that has to be a reflection of his district. And I - gosh, I should be more familiar with the new district lines, but we are talking about a different district than District 3, which is central Seattle, here. We're talking about - I actually mix up the two guys on the council not infrequently, it's super embarrassing - but anyway, so Dan Strauss's district though is very different than central Seattle. It's not Andrew Lewis's district, which is different, but we're talking an area that does have more conservative pockets - conservative as it gets in Seattle in a way. So "Defund the Police" he's saying was a mistake, but then other people - that message hasn't resonated in some of the other races. So we are talking about a district that is very unique, I think, from some of the central Seattle districts in that apparently Dan's doing really well, just completely acting like "Defund the Police" was a discussion that never should have happened. So will be interesting seeing what happens there.

[00:03:16] Crystal Fincher: What do you think, Dan?

[00:03:19] Daniel Beekman: Yeah, I don't know. I think Dan Strauss is definitely benefiting from being an incumbent to the extent that people - they may not feel like they love the guy, although some voters, I'm sure, do - but they know who he is, they know his name, he's been in office. He gives off - or tries to give off - a sort of I'm-just-Dan-from-Ballard vibe, your local guy who you know, a nice guy. Maybe that probably puts off some people, but I think he benefits from that in people just looking at the ballot and they may know The Red Door, but they may not know Pete Hanning's name.

The one thing that I thought - I was looking at - that was most interested in was this is the district that changed most dramatically in redistricting. So it used to be the west part of north of the cut - Ballard, going up all the way up to Blue Ridge, etc, Broadview, and then over towards Green Lake. But now it hops the cut and basically is like Ballard, Fremont, and Magnolia - and looking at sort of the maps, all that's been released mapwise in terms of precinct level results is Election Night, so it's not the full picture, but you get a sense for the pattern. And overall the map, I don't think looks any different from any other Seattle election map, but this is a new configuration for that district and so interesting to see. Dan Strauss did very well in central Ballard, the more apartment-heavy part of Ballard and Fremont. And that Pete Hanning's stronghold, to the extent he had one in the primary, was in Magnolia, which isn't necessarily surprising. But it's just - it's a new map, so it's fun to see a new map.

[00:05:32] Crystal Fincher: It is fun to see a new map. How did you see this, Guy?

[00:05:37] Guy Oron: Yeah, Dan Strauss had a very impressive personal mandate - I think he got the most votes by far out of any of the Seattle City Council races - and this was the only district that reached like 40% turnout. So I wonder if that's in part because of just the demographics - being wealthier, whiter, more middle class. But I do wonder how much of that mandate is just because he's the default, milquetoast, moderate white guy. Or if it's just like people are passionate about him. Or I think a lot of people read The Stranger and voted for him - that would be my guess. And also he's incumbent and he's somehow managed to spin himself as not being that inoffensive. And also, I'm curious about Pete Hanning - if his candidate quality was as high as some of the other candidates in terms of getting his name recognition out there and actually making a mark - and so that would be his challenge going into the general election. But I would be very, very shocked if Strauss doesn't win at this point.

[00:06:59] Crystal Fincher: Yeah, it would be unprecedented for someone in Strauss's position, or really someone in Morales's position, not to be successful in the general. The power of incumbency is real. It is really, really hard to take out an incumbent, which is why sometimes you hear with a number of challengers, excitement - that it takes the electorate being in a place where they're ready to make a change and signaling they're going to make a change - and then takes a candidate who can take advantage of that. It looks like some were banking on the electorate being in more of a mood for a change than they actually are, which I think changes perhaps some of the strategy that some of the challengers had going in. But I think this is a case where there's an incumbent and people may have their feelings - I think he does try to be generally inoffensive and it's hard for a lot of the district to really, to very strongly passionately dislike him. But even those who were open to a change, it's one thing to say - Okay, I'm willing to hear other points of view - but it does take a candidate who can really articulate a clear vision and connect with voters to give them something that they can say - Okay, I can say yes to this, there is another vision here that I'm aligned with. And I don't know that voters heard another vision that they're necessarily aligned with unless they were really unhappy in the first place. It just looks like the amount of people who were really unhappy with their own councilmember just is not that big of a number, not one that's automatically creating a shift on the council. And so I think the job of a number of these challengers is a little bit harder than they bargained for.

And I think here in another race - a closer race with an incumbent - in District 7, Andrew Lewis finished with, or currently has as of today the 8th, 43.47% of the vote to Bob Kettle's 31.5%. How do you see this race shaping up, Guy?

[00:09:12] Guy Oron: Yeah. I thought - this was really a little surprising to me that Lewis did so poorly here. He still got the plurality, but he didn't have any challenges from the left, so it was a lot of pretty right-wing candidates or center who were really attacking him for his drug ordinance vote, policing. And I think this is probably the place we can expect a Chamber of Commerce or their successor organizations to pour in a ton of money to unseat him, to unseat Lewis. We also saw very low turnout in part because I think places like South Lake Union have a lot of expats and a lot of folks who are from around the country who don't pay attention to local politics. And so it might be important to have a ground game and activate those voters, and for Lewis just to find new voters instead of trying to look weak and flip-flop on issues. But that's just my two cents.

[00:10:23] Daniel Beekman: Go ahead, Daniel. Yeah. I was just thinking that Guy was making some good points there and in theory, turnout should grow from the primary to the general election just as a rule. So yeah, Andrew Lewis is going to need to go after more voters. And in his 2019 race, he had the advantage of not just, I think, ad spending outside, but he had - I remember because I went out with them - hotel workers, union hotel workers knocking doors, turning out the vote for him on their own through independent work from his campaign, independent from his campaign in that election. And certainly he would hope to get that kind of support to turn out those additional voters in the general or else maybe he's in trouble.

But yeah, I always like to look at the map. It was interesting looking at this one too, where you just had some real clear like top of Queen Anne and Downtown to some extent anti-Andrew Lewis voting or pro his challengers. And then the rest of the district, I think he did fairly well. But if turnout is a lot higher on upper Queen Anne than lower Queen Anne - doesn't matter what the map looks like in terms of space on it.

[00:12:06] Crystal Fincher: Is that how you size it up, Melissa?

[00:12:08] Melissa Santos: Yeah, I just think Andrew Lewis has a lot of work to do going forward to the general because theoretically you expect - I think it's reasonable to expect voters who voted for, for instance, Olga Sagan, the restaurant owner who is very anti-the work of the city council and anti-Andrew Lewis's record - they're more likely those voters are likely to vote for Bob Kettle, I would think in this particular case, than suddenly say maybe he's okay now. So and that would get - that alone - she only got 12% or something like that. But that's a sizable chunk to add to Bob Kettle's total there. And I do notice that Andrew Lewis seems a little worried. I do think he's trying to make sure his name's out there for stuff he's doing on the council right now - which all of them are doing who are incumbents - but I feel like Lewis especially is aware that he has some ground to make up.

[00:13:06] Crystal Fincher: Yeah, I think that's right. And I think that Lewis has some reassuring to do of a lot of his base. I think that - right or wrong - but I think that there's cause for it, that there are people wondering if he really is a champion on their issues or can be pressured to not vote a certain way. I think more than other - certainly for the incumbents that are there - I think he's viewed as more of a swing vote than some others, which really says you may not know exactly what you're getting from him if you're in his base. And I think that's a challenge. I think that candidates - certainly incumbents are in a stronger position if they do have a well-defined persona, defined stances - that at least your base knows what they're going to get. And then you try and expand that a little bit. I think he has more of a challenge than the other incumbents there. With that said, I think that he is probably in a stronger position to win the general election. Not that this won't be competitive certainly, but I think if you're looking between the two of them and you're a betting person, he's more likely to be able to consolidate the vote and pick up people who vote in the general who don't necessarily vote in the primary than a more moderate candidate. But I think this is a race that has a lot of attention and a lot of interest, and one where we're likely to see outside spending playing a significant role in this race.

[00:14:44] Melissa Santos: Yeah, and you are right that he didn't just annoy centrist people who wanted to see more prosecution of drug arrests. He actually has annoyed the progressives at various times by flip-flopping - I'm thinking about the capping rent fees as one vote he had where at first he was supporting a higher cap fee on, a higher maximum fee on late rent, than maybe the progressives wanted. And then went back to supporting a lower one - it was like $10 versus $50 or something like that. I think that some of the progressives were - Hey, where is this guy at on this - with that when they wanted to see that cap on late rent fees. I feel like it's hard to me for me to say all those words together correctly, but we wanted to see a very tight cap on how much landlords could charge for late rent. And Lewis was a little more willing, at one point, to consider letting landlords charge a little more for that. And that was something that disappointed progressives too.

[00:15:43] Daniel Beekman: Yeah, and it's - are you threading - he may be trying to thread the needle on some of these issues, but if he can't thread it correctly, does it look like you're flip-flopping or being - are you wavering rather than threading?

[00:15:59] Guy Oron: It does seem like Lewis has been a little less successful with that strategy than Strauss. And maybe that's also because of their districts, but I think he should be worried a little bit about alienating those people who would maybe support him otherwise, for Stranger readers or that labor, for example, are labor unions actually going to come out and bat for him at this point like they did in 2019. So that will be something he has to work on in the next couple months.

[00:16:39] Crystal Fincher: Yeah, it is. And so we've covered all of these Seattle City Council district races. Looking at them - is there a narrative to all of these races? Before this, Mayor Bruce Harrell had talked about recruiting against some of the incumbents here, having some candidates here. Do you see this as an acceptance, or repudiation, jury still out on what this says about where people stand in alignment with the mayor based on these results? Guy?

[00:17:18] Guy Oron: I think, firstly, all the races are very competitive. So that was a little different than expectations. I think progressives do have a shot of actually winning back control a little bit, or retaining control, depending on how you define that. But I think the biggest narrative for me is just how low turnout we had. We had only 15% of 18 to 24 year olds vote across King County, so that shows that the political process isn't engaging a big amount of people - which is probably the most concerning fact out of this primary.

[00:18:01] Crystal Fincher: What do you think, Daniel?

[00:18:08] Daniel Beekman: I don't know in terms of big takeaways overall, I guess we wait and see for the general. Some of the - some sort of fundamentals in Seattle politics aren't going to change that much generally from year to year and a lot of that is present in this election. Especially when, as Guy was saying, turnout wasn't high. There didn't seem to be tons of energy, even relative to other City elections, for this primary. And like I was mentioning before, that might not change unless there's one of these sort of big narratives that sort of - and they can be unpredictable like that Amazon money bomb, or who knows, maybe there's going to be another one of these tree protests - that really galvanize the voter imagination at the right moment and, or something around drugs and make it - pull an election out of the normal sort of rut of where you have these two general political factions and electorates in the city that are fairly evenly balanced. So it'll be interesting to see if there's something like that that grabs people and makes this time different in some way.

[00:19:31] Crystal Fincher: What are your thoughts, Melissa?

[00:19:34] Melissa Santos: While I think there's a lot of potential for change on the council, that's mostly - to me - the function of there being four open seats. And then, actually, we'll probably get to this in our last moments, but probably there'll be five seats that change over on the council, it looks like - which is five out of nine, that's a majority. So there's a lot of potential for change. However, it doesn't strike me that the incumbents are in danger of losing necessarily. So the change is just from new people coming in, but not throwing the old people out - is what it looks like. Lewis might be the one exception. He's the closest to potentially losing his seat, but I'm not certain that will happen either. So we could just end up with a lot of new voices and a lot of the incumbents all staying, which - the new voices may be aligned with the mayor, it's hard to say - I was just doing napkin math and looking at vote counts and how it will work out. But to that point, though, we don't know how some of these folks yet would vote on certain issues. So it's even hard to do that. Do I know where Joy Hollingsworth stands on certain, every single vote that the council's had on housing policy and taxing in the past five years? You know - I actually don't. So I don't know how those votes would shake out even if, whichever faction is elected. But I do think the progressive candidates are doing well in a lot of these races, so that will be interesting to see.

[00:20:56] Daniel Beekman: It might just be that the biggest change in dynamic is something that has nothing to do with November, and it's that - no more Sawant on the council. Not that she always gets what she wants - that's hardly the case, but that's just been such a constant dynamic at City Hall for the last 10 years. And that could just change the way things are done and the sort of the whole political landscape up there on the dais at City Council as much as some of these other seats swapping out or who gets in those seats.

[00:21:39] Crystal Fincher: Yeah, I tend to agree with that. And I think - once again I hope people, whether you're an organization who's going to be doing forums or examining that or voters as you have opportunities to have conversations with these candidates - that you ask them where they stand and you hold them accountable for stating their position, for stating how they would have voted, for talking about how they did vote when they voted on different things so that you know what you're getting in terms of a councilmember and their vote. I think that there's growing frustration around looking at some of these challenges that we're facing in the City of Seattle and around the region, whether it's homelessness or public safety or climate change or taxation or progressive revenue, that there's been a lot of rhetoric over the past several years but maybe not the kind of change that people would expect based on some of the broad rhetoric that people have heard. And so I think the lesson to take from that is to really drill down and not just have people give you their very rosy, I-believe-the-children-are-the-future type sayings, but when they can't get everybody to agree, when everyone gathered around the table doesn't come up with one solution, what are they willing to step up and advocate for? What are they willing to stand up and say - Okay, I know this may not make everyone happy, but this is what I believe we need to do and how we need to move forward. I think those will be the most enlightening conversations that come out of this general election and will be the most helpful for voters making decisions.

I do want to talk about these King County Council races. And one of these races features a current Seattle City Councilmember, Teresa Mosqueda, in the District 8 race against current Burien mayor, Sofia Aragon. This had a very strong showing - again for a Seattle City Council incumbent - Teresa Mosqueda with 57.56% of the vote right now, Sofia Aragon 37.57%. I don't think it's controversial to say that this is extremely likely to result in Teresa Mosqueda winning this race in the general election. We still have to go through it - nothing is absolutely set in stone, but this is about as safe as you can look as an incumbent. And interestingly enough, another Seattle City councilmember who has been on the forefront of big progressive policy wins - probably at the top of the list, the JumpStart Tax, which has been very consequential for the City of Seattle. What was your take of this race, and what do you think the big issues were or what this says about voters here in this race? - starting with Guy.

[00:24:47] Guy Oron: I think the first outcome, I think, is just it shows how important high quality candidates are. I think Teresa is exemplary qualified. I think she has a lot of connections with local labor organizations, local community groups. And so she was really able to outmatch Sofia Aragon in that. And it also showed that I think that district was looking for more than just platitudes about policing and homelessness. And the third thing is maybe it's also a backlash against Aragon's handling of the recent saga over homelessness in Burien, and just how much the city has intensified vitriol against its unhoused population under her majority control. So those were my three takeaways.

[00:25:45] Crystal Fincher: Absolutely. And for those unfamiliar, a dramatic saga currently playing out still in the City of Burien, where there have been a number of sweeps that have taken place with some homeless encampments there in the city. Those sweeps have to operate in a constitutionally legal framework. It looks like the City of Burien got outside of that framework - they were warned by the King County Executive that they were outside of that - you can't sweep people without an offer of shelter. But sometimes in cities, a major issue is that they don't have the resources to do that. Uniquely in Burien, King County offered to provide shelter and a number of Pallets [shelters] , a million dollars worth of that basically - Hey, work alongside us and we'll help you work through this with your population. And from the mayor, the deputy mayor on down basically rejected that offer and would rather not take that up, not house the population, and double down on more punitive criminalized efforts, which it seems may not be very popular in the city. And whether people favor more punitive or more evidence-based solutions there - seems like the one thing people do want is action taken. And when it looks like that isn't being taken, that's a challenge - that may have been a factor here in this race. I'm wondering what kind of addition to the council, or what does it look like voters voted for in terms of policy here and in terms of potential budget impacts or taxation? How did you see this, Melissa?

[00:27:32] Melissa Santos: As you mentioned earlier, Mosqueda was really active in getting a tax on big business. This was the Amazon tax that actually ended up passing, after the head tax - kind of was an effort that failed in 2018. Mosqueda picked up the pieces and there were others, too, but she led this effort to actually get a tax on business passed in Seattle, which I think is a pretty big achievement, given how spectacularly that effort fell apart previously. And so she's sometimes been vilified by this - Sawant, for instance, as being too willing to work with people or something. But if you do get an Amazon tax out of it, then that seems to please progressives for the most part. So I think you will get some progressive views on tax policy on the County Council if Mosqueda is elected, which she is likely to be, it looks like.

And Mosqueda is interesting because she is not - she has not, I don't think, walked away from the idea of saying - I don't, the number of police is not necessarily equivalent to having great public safety. I don't think we need all these police. She hasn't really walked back from her statements on that so much as maybe Dan Strauss and others here. And this was a real interesting contrast, because that's exactly where Aragon was going after her, saying - Defund the police has failed. Has the City Council of Seattle actually - did they actually follow through with actually defunding stuff? Not quite exactly, but the discussion certainly happened and that was a side that Mosqueda was interested in - looking at other solutions as opposed to hiring more cops, for sure, that's certainly fair to say. The voters in that area seem to think that's fine - 20 point spread here, it's not close. So I think that the thing that interests me most - I think the County Council is interesting, and then Mosqueda will join that and it will create another progressive voice in the County Council. But then we're going to have a fifth City Council seat that needs to be filled, and that will happen by appointment. And that's wild - voters aren't really going to be involved in that. And again, getting ahead of myself - the election has not happened, but 20 point spread, like we can probably assume there's going to be a fifth opening on the City Council. So that's the fifth seat that we aren't even really talking about on the ballot, which then there'll be people who parade through the City Council presenting themselves for the job. And they will have that happen probably toward the end of this year after the elections are over, or maybe early January, depending on the timing. But that will mean a majority of the City Council is changing over, and it could be not a progressive person replacing Mosqueda on the City Council. They won't be super far right or anything, but you could get a more centrist person than she is in that role because voters don't really have a say in it.

[00:30:23] Crystal Fincher: Yeah, and certainly whoever winds up on the council is going to be very consequential in that decision. What are your thoughts, Dan?

[00:30:31] Daniel Beekman: Oh, I was just looking at the Election Night results map - and I should plug Washington Community Alliance because they did this and then put it out there, so that's what I'm looking at. But the interesting thing - I think it might be a little bit tempting because Sofia Aragon is an elected official - is she the mayor right now of Burien? Yeah, she's a mayor of Burien. So it might be a little tempting to read views into the whole Burien brouhah in this result. And maybe there's some of that. But looking at the map, Burien was actually - relatively speaking, she did decently. And the district also includes the dense part of Capitol Hill and the dense part of West Seattle - and that's where Mosqueda cleaned up. So I think you could a little bit more look at this and say it's the opposite of a repudiation in terms of Mosqueda's work on the City Council. But I would be a little bit more hesitant to read into it all that much about Burien, even though maybe some of that could be going on.

[00:31:54] Crystal Fincher: Yeah, I think that's an interesting point. And again, I think that the mapping - more mapping options is wonderful. Kind of similar with first night results, I caution people against looking at first night precinct results - those tell a different story in the same way that the numbers tell a different story. So I'm super eager to dive into these when we have full results on those. And looking at that seems to be more enlightening and more accurate as to where things wind up there, but a really interesting view.

And then in the other competitive King County Council race, District 4, where there were three pretty progressive candidates actually in this race in the primary where there was Jorge Barón, Sarah Reyneveld, and then Becka Johnson Poppe. Looking at this in comparison to the City Council races, the other County Council race, this is a race where all three of these candidates were, I think it's probably fair to say most people would consider them all to be progressives. And I've moderated one or two forums for this in the primary election. And these answers were routinely to the left of several of the city councilmembers here. But it looks like - in this race, an interesting dynamic - Jorge Barón got in the race a little bit later. He was previously involved in the legislative session, and so had to finish that up before joining the race, but ended up securing the endorsements of both The Times and The Stranger, which most people don't generally do. Usually there are only select few candidates each cycle who wind up getting both of those endorsements. He did. And it definitely shows in the results with Jorge - usually you don't see someone in an open seat primary getting over 50% - jorge Barón is currently at 50.65%. Sarah Reyneveld also advancing through to the general election at 28.7% here. How do you think this race shaped up and what did you see from this race, Melissa?

[00:34:18] Melissa Santos: Jorge is just such a - has a big, big lead, as you said - and getting, again, this is not an incumbent getting almost 51% of the vote. This is a new candidate. But I do think this speaks to Jorge having done a lot of work. When we go back to 2017 and people rushing to SeaTac airport to respond to President, then-President Trump's ban on travel from certain Muslim countries, Jorge Barón was at the forefront of a lot of work. He was at the Northwest Immigrants Rights Project, I believe - off the top of my head, I think of it as the acronym, so I hope I have the full name correct here - but he's done so much work there where he's gotten a lot of earned media coverage because of doing a lot of work on behalf of people in the community. I think that, even if he hadn't campaigned at all - which I know he didn't just sit on the sidelines - but that did a lot of work before he even started campaigning. And I think that's reflected in the numbers here.

[00:35:17] Crystal Fincher: Yeah, I would agree with that. And to people looking to learn lessons when you're running - this is an excellent example of someone building their profile through serving in the community and people being aware of the work that they're doing, seeing tangible ways that that is playing out in the community. I think Jorge certainly benefited from that and benefited from just people saying - I certainly was a supporter of the work at the Northwest Immigrants Rights Project and so impactful and important in the community. How did you see this, Guy?

[00:35:55] Guy Oron: Yeah, I think it really shows Jorge Barón's ground game kind of making, or rather the opposite of ground game, the networking. And just having served in the community for so long, I think, was probably what got him that endorsement - and familiarity with policy issues for years. Yeah, and I think it's a bit of a unicorn endorsement. I'm very curious what the deliberation was between The Seattle Times and The Stranger editorial boards. And it does show just how much power they have as gatekeepers, particularly in more low-turnout elections like these August primaries.

[00:36:38] Crystal Fincher: How did you see this, Daniel?

[00:36:40] Daniel Beekman: I don't have that much to add - I think Melissa and Guy nailed it. Only one anecdote is that The Stranger/Seattle Times double endorsement is like a unicorn, should be a slam dunk - but actually, Jon Grant in 2017 had both - got defeated, I think, pretty handily by Teresa Mosqueda, who we were just talking about. So it's not an absolute slam dunk always, but in this case, it looks like it probably will be.

[00:37:14] Crystal Fincher: Definite themes of Teresa Mosqueda as a powerhouse in a number of different ways, it seems like. Now, as we've talked about a number of these races and we're almost done with time, so I guess just going around the horn here - What are you paying attention to most? What do you think is going to be the most interesting or impactful thing in the general election, either as a theme for these races or in any particular race that you're following? starting with Melissa.

[00:37:46] Melissa Santos: Oh, geez. Okay. Yeah, I am really interested to know what people think about tax policy and whether they're supportive of new taxes that go beyond the JumpStart Tax because the City does have a budget deficit - not right at this precise moment over the next six months, but pretty big projected budget deficit going toward 2025 - and I'm curious how candidates will respond with specifics about what they'd support to deal with that. And then I'm also interested in where the candidates are on these police issues, because it's again - when you talk about slogans like "defund the police," that isn't even exactly what happened in Seattle. So it's - what are we talking about? And so that's what I'm watching - is what candidates actually have to say about that and what they mean when they say - I don't like defund the police - or, what does this mean? So I think I'm just really, now that there's not 10 candidates in a race, looking forward to actually figuring out where people stand on issues - hopefully.

[00:38:46] Crystal Fincher: And Guy?

[00:38:52] Guy Oron: Yeah, I think I'm looking forward to see if the economy rebounds a bit and if people start feeling a little less burned out from politics - and whether candidates and their ground game can really go upstream and try to convince some of the disillusioned young folks, and especially more of the progressive folks who are not as happy with Biden and are not looking forward to voting, and just convince them that voting matters and that they're not throwing away their time by filling out the ballot.

[00:39:29] Crystal Fincher: And what about you, Daniel?

[00:39:30] Daniel Beekman: I guess in Seattle City Council races, I'm just curious to see, I think the more conservative, moderate candidates - maybe unfair to paint with a broad brush, but that sort of side of things - will probably, whether there are policy solutions that are realistic to go along with these, but they'll bang on - Oh, we need to crack down or get tough with crime and drugs - and that kind of thing. I'm interested to see, though, what the left-wing candidates try to use or wave as the banner, policy-wise. Is it raising taxes on businesses more? Is it the rent control? Is it another minimum wage hike? What is it? Can they find something to latch on to that's going to capture the voter's imagination?

And then I'm also just curious about some of these suburban races, like I was talking about before we went live - about Bothell and Burien and some interesting stuff up there. Bothell has this sort of growing urbanist political streak, and will that continue with one of the races up there? Looks like it could. And Kenmore finding itself dealing with affordable housing issues more and maybe getting a little bit of a lefty push - and will that continue? So I'm going to keep my eye on those.

[00:41:06] Crystal Fincher: What I'm most looking forward to is to see where donors settle in these races. Certainly donors were spread out amongst a variety of candidates in the primary, but in some of these races, it's not super clear at the moment where the candidate stances are on all the issues. Some races it's pretty clear to say that there's a progressive and a moderate, others it's to be determined and the details of that are yet to be determined. So it's going to be interesting to see where donors consolidate - who more corporate-type donors feel are the candidates that are going to be on their side, where they invest - usually they do not donate to places where they don't feel pretty sure they're going to get a return on that investment of the candidates. So that's going to be interesting to see, and I will be paying attention to that throughout the primary, certainly.

And with that, thank you for listening to this roundtable as it now comes to a close. I want to thank our panelists - Daniel Beekman, Guy Oron, and Melissa Santos - for their insight and making this an engaging and informative event. To those watching online, thanks so much for tuning in. If you missed any of the discussion tonight, you can catch up on the Hacks & Wonks Facebook page, YouTube channel, or on Twitter, where we're @HacksWonks. Special thanks to essential member of the Hacks & Wonks team and coordinator for this evening, Dr. Shannon Cheng.

If you missed voting in the election or know anyone who did, make sure to register to vote, update your registration, or find information for the next election at myvote.wa.gov. And as a reminder, even if you've been previously incarcerated, your right to vote is restored and you can re-register to vote immediately upon your release in Washington state, even if you are still under community supervision.

Be sure to tune into Hacks & Wonks on your favorite podcast app for our Tuesday topical interviews and our Friday week-in-review shows or at officialhacksandwonks.com. I've been your host, Crystal Fincher, and we'll see you next time.