I've read a couple articles suggesting that Jenny Durkan is the frontrunner in the Seattle Mayor's race. The numbers suggest otherwise.
First, an August primary with record low turnout should favor the more conservative candidate. It's not surprising that Durkan had a strong showing. It is surprising that it wasn't stronger.
We have more ballots to count before we find out whether Cary Moon or Nikkita Oliver secure the number two spot but we do know they will pick up the votes of most of their credible challengers. The problem for Durkan in the primary is that the other FIVE credible candidates ran to the left of her and took 60% of the vote...in a more conservative primary.
When you combine that with a higher turnout and a more progressive electorate in the fall, that spells significant trouble for Durkan. In 2013, exactly half of all registered voters voted for Mayor. Assuming that holds for 2017, we can expect roughly 230,000 ballots cast for Mayor this year. Of those, Durkan needs half or about 115,000. She only has 32,000 right now, maybe 44,000 when the ballots are all counted. So she will have to convince another 71,000 general election voters, who tend to be more liberal and younger, to vote for her instead of Moon or Oliver. And it's unlikely that the 100,000 primary voters who didn't vote for her the first time will suddenly defect to Durkan. I expect to see them coalesce behind what will inevitably be a progressive coalition led by either Moon or Oliver.
The electorate has changed in Seattle and change is what the electorate wants. Candidates like Moon, Oliver and Farrell represent a different direction for the city. They are all new voices with new ideas. The three of them garnered close to a combined fifty percent. When you add the McGinn and Hasegawa votes and a more progressive electorate, it's not hard to believe that the candidate who came in second in the primary has the best shot at winning the general.