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Tanya Woo sees support – and controversy – in bid for open Seattle Council seat

Tanya Woo
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Courtesy of the Tanya Woo campaign

Last fall, Chinatown International District activist Tanya Woo lost the race to represent South Seattle by a few hundred votes. Now, Woo’s bid to win the appointment to replace former Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda is gaining traction and generating controversy.

Last year, Woo campaigned on a pledge to improve public safety in South Seattle neighborhoods, like Little Saigon. She also promised to listen carefully to all voices in District 2’s diverse communities. But she was unable to unseat her progressive opponent, incumbent Tammy Morales, and lost by 1.55%.

RELATED: Sharp disagreements between Morales and Woo in Seattle Council race

After she lost, Woo’s supporters started floating her name for the open council job, with some pointing out that there are no Asian-American voices on the current city council.

That campaign started to bear fruit last Friday, when three city council members said Woo was their top choice. Then, Publicola reported about a leaked letter in which political insider Tim Ceis urged local business leaders to back Woo. The letter was directed to wealthy individuals who had spent millions on political ads last year to try and elect more business-friendly moderates, like Woo, to the Council.

“The independent campaign expenditure success earned you the right to let the Council know not to offer the left the consolation prize of this Council seat,” Ceis said.

That statement provoked criticism by some on social media.

"Tim Ceis continues to think he and his big corporate allies run this city regardless of what the public interest is or wants," wrote Robert Cruickshank on X.

Ceis also urged business donors to counter other lobbying efforts for the open seat.

“The building trades and the MLK Labor Council have started a campaign to get Vivian Song appointed … she endorsed left lane candidates like Ron Davis and Teresa Mosqueda,” Ceis said.

The council seat is a temporary position until the fall election when voters get to pick a permanent replacement. A total of 72 people applied for the at-large seat to replace Teresa Mosqueda, who moved on to a new job on the King County Council. On Friday, the Council narrowed the list to eight candidates who are now up for consideration — Woo and Song are among the eight.

  • Juan J. Cotto
  • Neha Nariya
  • Mark Solomon
  • Vivian Song
  • Steven K. Strand
  • Mari Sugiyama
  • Linh Thai
  • Tanya Woo

All eight will get a chance to make their case in a public hearing next Monday. The Council is then expected to appoint a Mosqueda replacement on Tuesday, Jan 23.

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