With reporting by Bryan Cohen and Sumedha Majumdar
On an Election Night without the local drama we saw in 2013 as Ed Murray became Seattle’s first openly Capitol Hill mayor, attention at campaign parties on and around the Hill turned to Olympia-focused campaigns including major changes to gun control in the state and the legislative race in the 43rd District including Capitol Hill. Meanwhile, the citizens of Seattle weighed in on a new transit tax that will help improve bus service in the city and a new plan to create a public pre-K system. A round-up of CHS’s 2014 fall election coverage is here.
Officials are predicting only about 28% turnout for King County voters.
Here’s how the first drop of votes shook out. The plan to create a “universal” pre-K system in Seattle appears to be a big winner. We looked at the 1A and 1B pre-K battle here. Prop 1B, backed by Mayor Ed Murray and the City Council, proposes a property tax increase to create a 4-year pilot program to provide tuition-free pre-K for a quarter of Seattle’s 3- and- 4-year-olds and make subsidies available for the rest. At Sole Repair, Mayor Murray said the results were strong enough for him to declare victory for 1B.
“Tonight marks the beginning of the end of Seattle’s achievement and opportunity gap,” Murray said in a statement. “Tonight marks a significant step toward making Seattle a city where students of all races and incomes are able to succeed in our public schools.”
— Sumedha Majumdar (@RavzSumie) November 5, 2014
— King Co Elections (@kcelections) November 4, 2014
The likely passage of Prop 1’s transit tax should also be good news for Central Seattle. CHS wrote about the plan here to implement a $60 annual vehicle license fee and .1% sales tax hike to fund transportation in the city. The measure is expected generate around $45 million annually for the county’s hamstrung bus system. The early counts showed incumbent Democrat Frank Chopp en route to another rout of Socialist Alternative candidate Jessica Spear. In the August primary, Spear garnered just 20% of the vote as Chopp took home 79%. Spear said she would continue to work on socialist campaigns for the environment and to re-elect Kshama Sawant to City Council next year. She also didn’t rule out seeking office again. “We have to see what makes the most sense for this movement going forward,” she said. “If that means joining Kshama on City Council, I’m happy to do it.”
Meanwhile, the gun control results have fallen in line with late polling — I-594 for background checks on firearm sales and transfers appears headed for approval while the I-591 attempt to thwart the background check proposition trails. I-594 would expand background checks in the state by requiring checks for all private sales and online purchases.
In a CHS survey, Capitol Hill voters said they were most driven by transportation, the economy and education in casting their ballots.