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Seattle Councilmember Lisa Herbold will not run for reelection in 2023

caption: Seattle City Councilmember Lisa Herbold
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Seattle City Councilmember Lisa Herbold
Jason Pagano / KUOW

Seattle Councilmember Lisa Herbold will not run for reelection in 2023.

Herbold has represented Seattle's District 1 since 2016. She won her first election with a 39 vote lead (49.8% of the vote). She took 56% of the vote in 2019. Now, Herbold says her time on the dais will come to an end after 2023. Still, she wants to work to keep a progressive voice in the role.

"I feel like it’s time to do my part to create an open seat election in District 1. I believe that an open seat can better drive turnout and deliver District 1 to another progressive," Herbold said in a statement.

Otherwise, Herbold speculates that Seattle will face a strategically divisive primary election in 2023. She cites a recent article in The Stranger, which states that a coalition of activists and progressive groups will target council seats in 2023. This coalition favors a 50% cut to Seattle police funding, among other demands. The recently passed Seattle budget does not make such a cut.

"I am reminded that we cannot repeat the 2021 race for the City Attorney when a very strong and proven progressive didn’t advance to the general, forcing a choice between a carceral system abolitionist and a Republican. In a similar 2023 scenario, progressives could lose District 1, and a seat on the Council," Herbold stated.

In that 2021 race, Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes was knocked out of consideration through the primary election. After that, abolitionist Nicole Thomas-Kennedy went up against Republican (and former Democrat) Ann Davison. Thomas-Kennedy stated she wanted to dismantle the system, stop prosecuting misdemeanors, and significantly defund the Seattle Police Department. Davison campaigned on remodeling the City Attorney's Office, transforming its mental health approaches, and prioritizing repeat offenders. Davison won with 52% of the vote.

Herbold continues to say that she is also not worried about the "other side of the political spectrum," such as the Chamber of Commerce or "the cynical big money Independent Expenditure campaigns in what would be yet another likely very ugly re-election bid if I were to run again."

"Rather, my choice is because I love and honor the work the progressive left has done in Seattle and I don’t want to do anything that makes it less likely for a non-progressive to be elected to represent the great District 1."

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