The City of Seattle released a list Wednesday afternoon of more than 70 people, including many, many failed candidates, who applied to fill the citywide city council seat left vacant by Teresa Mosqueda, who ascended to the King County Council this year. 

Mosqueda represented one of the most progressive votes on the council, so picking a labor-loving liberal to keep her seat warm until the next election would make sense. But most of the new council members won their seats thanks to substantial funds from corporate donors, and so it’s more likely that they’ll pick one of their own. 

The new council has not given the public a clear sense of what they want in an appointee, but they will reveal more about their direction on Friday, when they meet to narrow down the list to the top contenders. Here are the applicants you should have your eye on. 

Revenge of the Failed Council Candidates

Eight former council candidates want another shot at the office, including five who just lost their race last year. 

Some of these candidates didn’t come close. Tanya Woo lost her race to represent District 2 on City Council by 403 votes, but she’s getting right back on the horse, applying to be coworkers with her victorious competitor, Council Member Tammy Morales. 

As far as business, real estate, and general conservatives are concerned, District 2 is the only race they lost last year. Sorry, Pete Hanning! The council has the chance to please their mutual donors and pick Woo. 

She’d fit right in, too, displaying all the telltale signs of a Seattle conservative—welcoming Republicans into coalition to block shelters, NIMBY calls for downzones, an aversion to taxing the rich, and a love of cops. She’d probably join the more conservative half of the council, strengthening a (predicted) voting bloc of Council Members Nelson, Rob Saka, Maritza Rivera, and Bob Kettle. 

Morales very indirectly dismissed Woo, saying last week that she wanted an appointment with experience to round out their council full of newbs. 

But Woo isn’t the only Morales challenger to throw her hat in. Morales’s 2019 competitor Mark Solomon, also submitted an application. Solomon has worked for the Seattle Police Department for three decades, and Durkan backed his campaign, if that’s any indication for how he will operate on council. 

Shane Macomber is also fresh off a loss. He ran for the open seat in District 5, but he scored just 1.5% of the vote, putting him (almost) in dead last. 

The Stranger Election Control Board liked Macomber when we met him last summer. He’s a strong advocate for renters rights and the working class, but his greenness may make it difficult for him to really stand out in the minds of the business-backed crew. 

Ry Armstrong ran for City Council in District 3, but they only won about 2% in the primary. Armstrong missed the landing on some key criminalization issues, but, if they joined this council, they would be easily one of the more progressive members. Armstrong threw their weight behind Alex Hudson in the general, so I don’t think they have an “in” with D3 Council Member Joy Hollingsworth. 

They are joined by Shobhit Agarwal, who also ran for D3. He scored 1.5% of the vote in the primary. 

Phil Tavel, an administrative law judge and trivia master, has lost three bids for election in District 1, most recently scoring 20% for a third place finish in the 2023 primary.

The Stranger has called Tavel a Republican in the past, but he surprised everyone when he and the rest of the failed D1 candidates endorsed Saka’s progressive competitor, Maren Costa. Cool in the moment, but he might have gotten a job if he swung the other way!

Also in D1, Preston Anderson threw his name in the hat. I can see cop-loving Anderson fitting into this council nicely, but he also made an enemy of Saka. 

Kate Martin, something of a perennial candidate, also applied. As a disastrous NIMBY, this may be her best shot at getting into the halls of power, to be honest. 

The Stranger previously heard rumors that former City staffer Brianna Thomas and D5 candidate Nilu Jenks would both apply. They did not! 

Anyone Who Didn’t Just Lose?

Not everyone is running a second (or third, or fourth, or fifth) truncated campaign in the appointment process. 

Seattle School Board Director Vivian Song also wants the seat. Since she hasn’t run for council, it's a little less clear how she would govern. Her tenure on the school board suggests she’s an advocate for progressive revenue at the state level, and Twitter presence suggests she’s an urbanist. She hosted a fundraiser for Mosqueda in October, so that’s cozy. 

In her application for the position, her urbanist chops shine through but not her taxing-the-rich chops. Most notably, Song said Seattle needed a police department “scaled to the size and needs of a growing city,” indicating her support for a larger force. 

But she likely wouldn’t be as bad on public safety as the literal cop who applied, Steve Strand. OpenOversight, a database of cop behavior organized by lefty computer whizzes, reported that Strand has racked up five complaints from the Office of Police Accountability. 

Okay, but What About Experience?

Like I said, Morales, the only council member to express an opinion about the appointment so far, wants an experienced candidate. Some of the more experienced candidates on the list may also be the most left, but it’s hard to tell from the applications alone. 

Vietnamese refugee and 25-year Seattle resident Linh Thai seems interesting. He has experience working in Seattle's Department of Neighborhoods, working as a congressional aide, and he’s faced homelessness. We've also been told he's the brother of Rep. My-Linh Thai, who might be the most based member of the Washington Legislature, just saying. 

Human Services Department employee Mari M. Sugiyama may also be one to watch, as she has some experience working in the City. 

A systems advocate from King County Regional Homelessness Authority, Harold Odom, also applied. Given the KCRHA public perception right now, that might not be the best experience to lead with, but his experience with the unhoused community would be a vital asset on a sweep-happy council. 

We’ll see if a clear lefty appointee stands out from the crowd in the special council meeting tomorrow.