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Nickels hopes for a positive sign Wednesday; Drago hopes other candidates will read her position papers
Posted by Jim Brunner
The Nickels campaign was understandably in a pretty subdued mood tonight at the UFCW Hall south of Safeco Field. No joyful outbursts by supporters huddled around computers as the results came in (like at the Mike McGinn party.)
Instead, Nickels and his campaign staff huddled in a back room for quite a while before he came out to deliver his speech. (Several of the mayor's supporters in the main union hall weren't even aware of the election results until I told them.)
Still, as I wrote below, Nickels was insistent that he'd pull through the primary. When I later asked him what gave him reason to believe that, he just said he's "an eternal optimist."
Deputy Mayor Tim Ceis, who is not an eternal optimist, also insisted the game isn't over and said everyone needs to wait until more votes are counted Wednesday to at least see a "trend line." Unlike past elections, where we got multiple vote dumps -- first from early absentees, then the poll voters, then later absentees -- there was only one blast of results tonight. One of the side effects of the move to an all-mail election.
That makes it impossible to tell which way voters were shifting later in the campaign. For example, Ceis pointed to the Nickels campaign's last minute attacks on McGinn and Joe Mallahan.
The fact that an incumbent mayor would have to resort to negative attacks in a primary says about all you need to know about Nickels' popularity problem. If he could have, Nickels would have preferred to get through the primary without mentioning his opponents by name.
But Ceis told me the campaign realized it had to shift tactics when it saw that Nickels' numbers were not moving at all -- and that many voters were waiting until the last minute to mail in their ballots.
When King County releases another batch of votes Wednesday, "we'll see if our assessment was correct," Ceis said.
Earlier in the evening, Seattle City Councilmember Jan Drago gave what amounted to a pre-concession speech to a crowd of supporters at a Pioneer Square bar. (This was about an hour before the votes came out, showing the four-term council member in
fourth fifth place, behind James Donaldson.)
Drago handed out awards to her supporters and talked up a series of issue papers her campaign had written. "I do hope that the next mayor of Seattle, whoever that might be, will use these," she said.
She gave one copy to former Seattle City Councilmember Peter Steinbrueck, who nearly ran for mayor himself before taking a prestigious fellowship at Harvard.
"I'll save these for later," Steinbrueck said.
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