2021 General Election Briefing: Key Races & Candidates

Ballots for the 2021 General Election will be mailed on Wednesday, Oct. 13, to registered voters in Washington state. Ballots must be completed and returned via U.S. Mail, a local dropbox or election center by 8pm on Tuesday, Nov. 2.

The NAIOPWA PAC contributes support to candidates and campaigns that work to create a business-friendly environment in the state. Key races in Seattle & Bellevue are highlighted below. 

Seattle Mayor: Bruce Harrell

In Seattle's mayoral election, Bruce Harrell and Lorena Gonzalez, currently a member of the city council, are on the ballot.  

Top issues for Harrell include:

  • Bold ideas for economic recovery
  • Ending homelessness
  • Police reform and public safety
  • Health care for all
  • Taking on the climate crisis
  • Transportation and infrastructure
  • Reducing gun violence

Read more on Harrell's positions and view his recent endorsements on his website, bruceforseattle.com.

Seattle City Council Position 9: Sara Nelson.

Sara Nelson and Nikkita Oliver are on the ballot for this city-wide council seat.

Highlights from Sara Nelson's campaign and background include:

  • Co-founded Fremont Brewing in 2009, which has grown to more than 100 employees. Fremont Brewing gives back to its community through partnerships and donating beer to social justice and environmental nonprofits. They’re recognized leaders in the craft beer industry for sustainability and the provide extensive benefits like paid family leave, a matching 401k plan, and excellent healthcare coverage – which they extent to their employees’ families. Fremont Brewing was hit hard by the pandemic but they managed not to lay anyone off and even increased everyone’s hourly wage to make up for lost tips.
  • Served as a Legislative Advisor on City Council for many years where she advanced landmark legislation on environmental, transportation, and economic development policy. She knows how policy is made and how local government should work.
  • Only candidate in this race with experience in both public service and the private sector.
  • Lifelong environmentalist with a track record to prove it — from getting recycling and zero waste legislation passed on Council to investing in green and renewable energy technologies at Fremont Brewing.

Endorsements include the Seattle Times' editorial board, which wrote:

“Nelson is clearly the best positioned, in experience and approach, to restore Seattle’s prosperity — and to make sure the rebuild happens equitably, with effective governance. She knows how to craft municipal policy from nearly a decade working on the staff of former city Councilmember Richard Conlin. And she proved during the pandemic how strongly she values workers at her business, Fremont Brewing.”

From The Times recommends: Sara Nelson for Seattle City Council, at-large Position 9

Seattle City Attorney: Ann Davison

Ann Davison is running against Nicole Thompson-Kennedy for City Attorney. 

Key points from Davison's background:

  • Has voted Democrat in the past, but considers herself a “Dan Evans” Republican (he also endorsed her).
  • Strongly believes the office of the City Attorney was created by our charter to be nonpartisan — not a place to pursue a radical agenda that will impair the safety of our city and the people of Seattle.
  • She will strive to “balance … compassion for those who are struggling with mental health challenges or chronic addiction with appropriate solutions (and) … prosecute those who are repeat offenders, responsible for so much crime and mayhem on our streets that impacts all of us. I will stand up for our small businesses and our neighborhood business districts, which the city government forces to endure the plague of retail theft.”
  • She’s pro-choice, pro-equality, and pro-workers’ rights.

Endorsements include the Seattle Times' editorial board, which wrote:

Davison’s vision is to help restore a lawful city with real compassion, not exacerbating the plights of people struggling with poverty, mental-health or substance-use disorders. Rather, she supports an approach with services and interventions that help troubled individuals but also keep the public safe. And she would not shrug off the challenge of using the city attorney’s authority to step in with sensitivity when behaviors endanger other people.

From The Seattle Times Recommends Ann Davison, July 16, 2021

Bellevue City Council Position 4: Jared Nieuwenhuis
Jared Nieuwenhuis and Ruth Lipscomb are on the ballot for this position.

Key points for Nieuwenhuis:

  • Served on the Council since 2018.
  • Represents the council on the King County Domestic Violence Initiative Regional Task Force. He is council liaison to the East Bellevue Community Council and Human Services Commission.
  • He’s very pro-business and pro-development. His top issues include the environment, public safety, affordable housing and strong neighborhoods.

From Deputy Mayor Nieuwenhuis receives historic endorsement from Bellevue police unions – July 2021

Nieuwenhuis said he believes his opponent’s frequent appearances before the City Council urging the defunding of police while participating in and defending the anti-police protest in Downtown Bellevue that occurred last year, inspired the police unions to get involved in his race and endorse him for his strong public safety record on the council.

“I could not disagree with my opponent more on this point,” said Nieuwenhuis. “While cities in the region that defunded police and refused to support their first responders saw crime skyrocket, Bellevue Police and Firefighters protected our community with grace and dignity that set an example for the region. While we must be relentless in our pursuit to create policing our communities can trust and embrace, a radical policy of defunding the police would expose our most vulnerable communities to violence and disorder. It would be an abdication of the government’s most quintessential purpose for serving the public.”

Bellevue City Council Position 2: Conrad Lee 
Conrad Lee is running against Dexter Borbe

Conrad Lee has served on the Council for 27 years, during which time he has been responsible for formulating long-term vision, implementing fiscal discipline, supervising the execution process—all of which has guided the sustainable growth of Bellevue. His top issues are:

  • Keep our community safe
  • Keep taxes low
  • Promote economic vitality and create jobs
  • Preserve diversity, neighborhoods, and quality of life
  • Improve our transportation system

From Three first-time candidates challenge Bellevue City Council incumbent Conrad Lee – Seattle Times, July 2021:

When Lee, 82, was first voted to the City Council, he recalled, he became the first person of color to sit on the council in a city of mostly white residents. Now, more than half of Bellevue residents are people of color, and 39% were, like Lee, born outside the U.S. That representation matters, he said.

“It’s very important, and it’s getting to be more important than it used to be,” he said. “The country is more divided, more polarized, and I have proven to bridge that gap to bring people together.”

View Conrad Lee's recent endorsements

Bellevue City Council Position 6: Lynne Robinson 
Lynne Robinson's challenger for the seat is Gina Johnson.

About Lynne Robinson:

  • Robinson has served since 2014 and was elected Mayor in 2020.
  • On the City Council and as a member of the King County Affordable Housing Committee and Eastside Human Services Board, Robinson has been a regional leader on addressing the affordable housing crisis: developing the city’s affordable housing plan, building and preserving housing, and providing needed human services and support for the vulnerable.
  • She has been a strong advocate for adding density and housing in Bellevue.

Recent endorsements include the Eastside Business Alliance, which wrote:

Lynne has successfully guided Bellevue through an unprecedented year of challenges. From the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Mayor Robinson met public safety and economic concerns head on. After the property destruction and looting in May 2020, Mayor Robinson led the Council in launching a transparent use of force review with the support and cooperation of Bellevue’s celebrated police chief, Steve Mylett. During subsequent threats to public safety, Mayor Robinson has supported the Chief’s strategy of preserving first amendment rights while deescalating dangerous situations.

As other cities in our region have sought dramatic cuts to public safety while simultaneously levying massive new taxes on businesses, the City of Bellevue has continued its practice of pragmatic budgeting that promotes public safety without raising taxes.

From Eastside Business Alliance Endorsement - 2021

Note: NAIOPWA does not endorse candidates for political office. Information on candidates identified by the NAIOPWA PAC as business-friendly is provided as background information for the CRE community. All eligible Washingtonians are strongly encouraged to register to vote and participate in the democratic process.

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