Anne Davison appears to have defeated rival Nicole Thomas Kennedy in what is arguably his most famous race. Seattle City attorney in history.
The latest results from Tuesday’s general election show Davison winning with 52% of the votes cast. She jumped to the top early on Tuesday, taking a 17-point lead over her opponent. Thomas Kennedy gained ground with more votes counted – the margin closed to nearly 11 points on Thursday – but Friday’s results appeared to have sealed Davison’s victory.
So far, Davison has received 125,437 votes. The city has 17,835 ballot papers left to count. This means that Thomas Kennedy would need to secure approximately 15,000 – about 84% – of the remaining ballots to win, making a return unlikely but not impossible.
Davison will be the first female attorney for the city of Seattle.
Although the city attorney is a nonpartisan office, a person’s political leanings matter to voters. The two candidates’ views vary widely – and they are both lawyers – but it’s hard to read which political party Davison really belongs to.
She ran for a nonpartisan seat on Seattle’s city council in 2019 — a waste of time if you don’t have liberal views — but then ran for deputy governor last year as a Republican. Prior to that campaign, she had claimed she was leaving the Democratic Party, but she always seemed to hold some conservative views. It’s hard to imagine a dyed liberal identifying publicly as a Republican when Donald Trump was president.
If Davison truly sees herself as a member of the Republican Party, she will be the first Republican to win an elected office in Seattle since Paul Crabell. He served on the city council from 1975 until 1991.
On the contrary, it is not difficult to see where Thomas Kennedy lands on the political spectrum.
Describing herself as an “abolitionist,” she vowed to abolish prosecution for misdemeanours, which she says essentially criminalize poverty. She also promised to advocate for progressive tax laws, sue fossil fuel companies, and work to overturn the state’s voter-approved ban on affirmative action.
She was a perfect progressive candidate. But it was her far-left platform, as well as the many inflammatory statements made about the police, that led many of the more moderate Seattle Democrats to side with the Republicans in voting for Davison.
Even former conservatives Kristen Gregoire and Gary Locke, both Democrats, endorsed Davison. In their joint endorsement, they said that Thomas Kennedy’s desire to end the prosecution for misdemeanours would make Seattle less safe. They also described her statements about the police as unsuitable for a person seeking public office.
In several tweets from 2020 – many of which have since been deleted – Thomas Kennedy said she had a “rabid hatred” of police and called them “crying babies” and “serial killers”. She responded to a holiday message from the Seattle Police Department with a tweet that included the following line: “Eat some virus-infused food and quit your job.” It also described the person who detonated an explosive device near the eastern district of the directorate as a “hero.”
In response to the criticism, Thomas Kennedy said she tweeted at a time when emotions were high, she bought a gas mask for her 9-year-old daughter to wear at their home when police were firing tear gas at protesters in her neighborhood — and when she had no plans to run for public office. . She also emphasized that the tweets are a distraction, and said voters should focus on her platform.
Davison portrayed herself as a “pragmatist”. She separated herself from Thomas Kennedy—and brought the hulapalo up to date with her partisan shift—by asserting that the city’s attorney general position is nonpartisan and “not a place to pursue an extremist agenda.”
During the election campaign, she advocated aggressive attitudes towards repeat criminal offenses and vagrancy. But as far as the details, that’s about it. Her campaign website includes many cliches about bringing the city closer, but offers few policy suggestions.
The current city attorney general, Pete Holmes, faced heavy criticism last year for his response to the many protests that erupted in Seattle after the killing of George Floyd. It looked like he would enter the August primaries without a contender, but Davison and Thomas Kennedy came forward to run at the last second. Holmes was eventually knocked out of the race during the primaries, receiving only 31% of the vote.
Davison received her BA in Sociology from Baylor University in Texas. She received her Juris Doctorate from Willemette University in Oregon. She moved to Seattle in 1996, working for the Seattle Supersonics until 2001.
She became a practicing attorney and arbitrator in Seattle in 2005. She also teaches international business law at Continental College at the University of Washington.