Jenny Durkan and Cary Moon came out on top with 32% and 16% of support, closely followed by Nikkita Oliver with 14%, on Wednesday when about three-quarters of votes had been counted. Among the whopping 21 candidates in the nonpartisan mayoral race, all four top finishers were women.
Seattle's last female mayor was Bertha Landes, who took office in 1926. She was the first woman to govern a major American city, but lost the 1928 election to a man who refused to debate her. According to a 2013 Seattle Times article about Landes, her opponent, Frank Edwards, said he wouldn't answer "the questions that are encased in your pent up bosom" and that a man shouldn't debate "a hostile or infuriated woman."
Although votes are still being counted, Durkan and Moon will likely be the two candidates to advance to the general election, meaning that come November 7, one of them will be elected the city's second female leader in history.
Durkan's campaign website says she's the "proven progressive leader Seattle needs now." President Obama appointed her as a U.S. attorney in 2009, making her the first openly gay person to serve in that role. During that time, she created a civil rights unit within the U.S. Attorney’s Office focused on housing and job discrimination, as well as veterans' rights, and worked to prosecute gun crimes and prevent gun sales, according to her website.
Though nonpartisan, both women are left-leaning, and Moon is an urban planner and engineer whose campaign is focused on housing affordability, transit access, and small businesses.
"I am running for Mayor to bring solutions forward — to listen, to learn and to take honest stock of the challenges facing our city, and to offer my expertise as an urban planner, engineer and civic leader in driving strategies to strike Seattle’s problems at their root cause, not just address the symptoms," her campaign website says.
The current mayor, Ed Murray, announced in May he won't seek a second term after being sued for allegedly sexually abusing children in the 1980s, although he maintains his innocence.