2021 election: record number of candidates in King County
RENTON, WA – The 2021 election season is already one for the record books in King County, with 646 running for public office this year, officials said on Wednesday. According to the King County election, this year breaks the record set in 2017, when 634 candidates ran for office. Officials said nearly 95% of this year’s applicants applied online rather than in person.
“Our democracy works best when all voices are heard and when our constituents have options,” said Julie Wise, Chief Electoral Officer for King County. “It’s fantastic to see so many people coming together for their community and being willing to serve in this unique and empowering way.
Among the crowded field, 217 candidates looking for 57 positions will run for the August primary, which includes all races with at least three people on the ballot. Primary voters in King County cities will decide which two candidates run in the November general election, including city council contests in Bellevue, Issaquah, Redmond, Renton, Sammamish and Seattle. In Seattle, voters will also choose between 15 candidates vying to replace outgoing mayor Jenny Durkan.
Five candidates are vying for the King County Executive, including incumbent Dow Constantine, who is seeking a fourth term. He is expected to face a formidable challenge from State Senator Joe Nguyen (D-White Center). Goodspaceguy, a perennial candidate from Puget Sound, also applied. Metropolitan King County Council members Kathy Lambert, Reagan Dunn and Pete von Reichbauer are also in the running and will face multiple primary challengers. Dave Upthegrove and Rod Dembowski will each face a single challenger in November.
All primary voters will also see a county-wide voting measure, Proposition 1, which seeks to renew the Best Starts for Kids tax for another six years. Voters in the jurisdiction of four fire districts will also see the proposed charges. Ballots will be mailed to all voters on July 14.
According to election officials, no candidate has come forward to fill nine small vacancies in the county, and a special filing period will open for those on August 2.