A retired public media consultant, TV news broadcaster, and neighborhood activist has become the fifth candidate to enter the race for District 3.
In the 1970s, Lee Carter, 72, was head of the Central Seattle Community Council Federation and told CHS he wants to put neighborhood power and senior issues back at the forefront of city politics.
“We cannot solve the problems of housing for seniors… without returning power to the neighborhoods,” he said
Carter is the fourth candidate to challenge expected frontrunner Seattle City Council member Kshama Sawant for the Capitol Hill/Central District-dominated district seat. All candidates must register by May 15th to appear on the August 4th primary ballot. The top two finishers from August will advance to the November election.
This election won’t be Carter’s first run at City Council. In 1999 Carter won 8% of the vote in a primary election for a City Council seat. At the time he supported re-writing the city charter to put neighborhoods at the forefront of city decision making.
After being active in the “neighborhood government” movement in the 1970s, Carter spent much of the 1980s as a political reporter at KIRO and KING.
He later opened his own media consulting business called Unicom Group. He shut down the venture last year to retire, but said it was his wife who encouraged him to return to city politics.
Calling himself a Bull Moose progressive (a reference to the Progressive Party that briefly split-off from the Republicans in 1912), Carter says he supports lifting the ban on rent control and raising the minimum wage, even beyond $15 an hour. “It’s doable through the neighborhood movement,” he said.
In terms of addressing specific senior issues, Carter said he would like to see each neighborhood develop a plan on how to adequately house the city’s growing senior population. However, Carter said his first piece of legislation on council would be to place a moratorium on new development in the city until the new district-based council members had time to settle in.
Carter told CHS he won’t be running a traditional campaign, instead he said he’ll focus his efforts on social media and events.
Meanwhile, the campaign rolls on for the four other District 3 candidates. Sawant is currently leading the fundraising race with $51,330 in total contributions. Here’s how the candidates are stacking up:
- Kshama Sawant: $51,330
- Rod Hearne: $30,295
- Pamela Banks: $17,785
- Morgan Beach: $8,706
- Lee Carter: $0
Last month the 43rd District Democrats held a meet-the-candidates event which included straw poll votes for City Council. While it was far from scientific, Sawant won the District 3 poll with about 45% of the vote.
Pamela Banks formally kicked off her campaign last week at an event on Capitol Hill, where she was backed by by three current City Council members, including Bruce Harrell, Tim Burgess, and Sally Bagshaw. Meanwhile, Morgan Beach recently earned the endorsement of the National Women’s Political Caucus of Washington for her pledge to help close the gender pay gap in the city.
If you think five candidates for the District 3 position seems like a crowd, try nine. District 1 has attracted the most would-be Council members. And not one of the nine vying to lead the West Seattle district is a Council veteran.
To help you make up your mind on the candidates incumbent and challenger, a District 3 candidate forum will be held on May 12th at the Mount Zion Baptist Church at 19th and Madison. The 43rd District Democrats have confirmed all candidates are expected — save Carter. But maybe he was too new to the race to have had time to confirm.