US Representative Pramila Jayapal, one of the biggest names in Seattle politics, has backed City Council President M. Lorena González in her candidacy for mayor, an early coup for González in an evolving campaign.
Jayapal is the most famous endorser in the mayor’s race to date. The full field will not be set until the state filing deadline in late May, and the race for endorsements, an old part of local campaigns, is slowly moving on.
Endorsements from members of Congress in mayoral elections are relatively rare. No member of Washington Congress, including Jayapal, endorsed a candidate for the 2017 mayor’s race.
Jayapal and González have been working together for more than a decade, beginning in 2007 when both were on a community panel to review the Seattle police accountability system. In 2008, González joined the board of directors of OneAmerica, the immigrant rights group founded and led by Jayapal.
“From years of working together on immigrant and refugee rights at OneAmerica to working together on workers’ rights, Medicare For All and COVID relief today, I know Lorena’s first and only concern is uplifting others,” Jayapal said as he did announced their support. “Lorena is the progressive choice to move Seattle forward because she is a proven leader who knows how to get things done.”
Jayapal’s congressional district overlaps most of Seattle, although it does not represent any part of Capitol Hill, the Central District, or South Seattle. Since taking office in 2016, she has been re-elected twice, always with at least 80% of the vote, and has built a national profile as Chair of the Progressive Congress Caucus.
Jayapal said she is eager to support candidates she has worked with personally and that González, who was first elected to the city council in 2015, is a black woman.
“It is very important that we mentor and develop leaders and hold positions, especially when they have a long-term relationship,” said Jayapal. “It’s important to have someone in this position who will be a real partner to me.”
González also has approval from State Sens. Rebecca Saldaña and Joe Nguyen, as well as their fellow councilors Lisa Herbold, Tammy Morales and Teresa Mosqueda.
In her bid for mayor, Former MP Jessyn Farrell won the approval of Councilman Dan Strauss, Rep. David Hackney, and Former Rep. Brady Walkinshaw, whom Jayapal defeated in the 2016 Congress race.
At least 15 candidates have already applied for mayor, with the more likely to show up before May 21st.
Colleen Echohawk, executive director of the Chief Seattle Club, who took part in the race in January, has an early fundraising lead, reporting more than $ 300,000 in donations and publicly funded democracy vouchers. This is evident from the records of the Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission.
González has reported that he has collectively raised around $ 160,000 in donations and democracy vouchers.
Andrew Grant Houston, architect and councilor to the city council, has reported, according to SEEC records, that he has raised approximately $ 135,000.
Former Seattle City Council President Bruce Harrell, who announced his election campaign two weeks ago, has not yet submitted donation reports to the Electoral Commission. Harrell has the endorsement of US Representative Marilyn Strickland, representing Olympia and parts of Tacoma, and State Representatives Sharon Tomiko Santos and Cindy Ryu.