Sally Bagshaw. Photo courtesy of Reelect Sally Bagshaw/Facebook
Sally Bagshaw. Photo courtesy of Reelect Sally Bagshaw/Facebook
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Sally Bagshaw will serve four more years on the Seattle City Council, after voters in Queen Anne, Magnolia, Belltown and Downtown overwhelmingly supported the previously citywide incumbent to represent District 7 in the new district system.  

In what ended up as the most lopsided City Council race of the nine on the ballot, Bagshaw garnered 81 percent of the vote to challenger Deborah Zech Artis’ 18 percent. 

That margin is actually larger than the primary tally, which Bagshaw also won easily with 76 percent of ballots cast.  

For Bagshaw, who joined the council in 2010, the switch to the district system is an exciting one and brings with it an opportunity to focus more directly on smaller subset of the city. 

With the previous citywide position, “I had to stretch my time to be up in Northeast Seattle and Southwest Seattle — just really a lot more people — and focusing on District 7 is very exciting because they’re friends and neighbors,” she said. 

That’s not to say that District 7 isn’t wide-ranging in its constituency.  

“There’s single-family neighborhoods, there’s people living in high rises, there are people living in poverty,” Bagshaw said, “and we need to recognize that we’re a neighborhood, a big neighborhood, that can reach out and spread its arms around everybody.” 

 

Making an impact

In her next term, Bagshaw said some of the biggest concerns facing her constituents are regarding traffic congestion and, in turn, expanding transit to give people alternative commuting methods. To that end, she said she was thrilled with the passage of the nine-year, $930 million Move Seattle levy. 

“I know that a lot of people, particularly in Magnolia, did not vote for it,” Bagshaw said. “That said, 58 percent of the people in the city did. They recognized the need for more investment in our infrastructure, and I’m a big supporter of that.”

Bagshaw also wants to be available to citizens in ways she wasn’t before and finding places where people want to meet. 

“What I think is going to be more valuable is to be alert to projects that people are concerned about and asking them when they would like to really focus on a particular project,” she said. 

Meanwhile, Zech Artis said she simply started too late in the game. 

However, she said her showing came without knocking on a single door or having any volunteers. Next time she runs for office, she said, she’ll announce much earlier and have a mailing list, volunteers, endorsements and a strong social media presence before she starts campaigning. 

“I know that my efforts made an impact,” Zech Artis wrote in an email. “I now need to capitalize on those efforts.”

Zech Artis said she also plans to keep a close watch of Bagshaw’s voting record “and have responses to counter her accomplishments with her failures to act or her moves to support the developers.” 

According to the Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission, the race was the least expensive of the nine City Council contests, with contributions totaling approximately $125,000 — of which Bagshaw received about $119,000. Zech Artis’ contributions were listed at $279. 

Bagshaw, who now becomes one of the longest-serving councilmembers, behind only Bruce Harrell and Tim Burgess — who were both elected two years earlier — said she’ll serve as a mentor to the crop of new council members to the extent they want that guidance. 

“I’ve got some specific things I want to accomplish, and I will be going door-to-door asking for their support, and I hope they will do that with me,” she said. 

 

Low voter turnout

For the city’s two at-large positions, Lorena Gonzalez and Burgess defeated Bill Bradburd and Jon Grant, respectively. Gonzalez carried 78 percent of the vote in her race, while Burgess also led comfortably with approximately 55 percent of the tally. 

A total of about 27,000 ballots were returned within the district, out of 62,583 registered voters. That 42.5-percent voter turnout was the second lowest of the seven districts, ahead of only the 40-percent turnout in District 2. 

Citywide, approximately 46 percent of registered voters returned their ballots. 

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