Former Seattle City Council President Bruce Harrell, who ran on a pro-police message, led the returns in the race for Seattle mayor by nearly 30 points against progressive M. Lorena Gonzalez, the current president, late Tuesday.
Harrell told FOX 13 in Seattle Tuesday he thought his message resonated with voters.
“I’m not a status quo politician, they want the homeless issue addressed with a sense of urgency, they want effective policing …biased-free policing, so we feel very good about the results.”
Harrell’s lead comes a year after the liberal northwest city was rocked by anti-police rioting and the infamous and ill-fated CHOP (Capitol Hill Occupied Protest) or CHAZ (Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone), which turned deadly after testing having a neighborhood without police.
Harrell had criticized Gonzalez for her support of the “defund the police” movement during the campaign, according to the Seattle Times. She had said she wanted to slash the department’s budget by 50% but later softened that stance.
Harrell said he wants to bolster the police force. The department is down hundreds of officers because of retirements and resignations amid the talk of defunding, and Harrell has called for the hiring of more police, including some unarmed officers, as well as the appointment of a cabinet-level position to address rising gun violence in the city.
In the race for city attorney, Republican Ann Davison led Nicole Thomas-Kennedy, who describes herself as a police and jail “abolitionist.”
During the campaign, Davison said Thomas-Kennedy’s policies would jeopardize public safety.
Sara Nelson, a candidate for the City Council who ran against abolishing the police but for reform, was also leading Nikkita Oliver, who campaigned to defund the police budget by half. Nelson led 60% to 40%, according to KING-TV in Seattle.
James Vert, a Seattle voter, told the Associated Press the defunding movement was wrong.
“I mean, our police will keep us safe,” Vert said. “And then we want to defund them. And then where does that leave us now with the problem we got? Look at the crime rates in Seattle right now.”
Harrell told FOX 13 that he felt public safety issues, along with the others he campaigned on, are a “unifying” message and felt that’s how he brought voters together.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.