After evaluating the crop of candidates for Seattle City Council District 7 — those that responded — the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce’s political action committee is endorsing two.

Real estate development project manager Michael George and former Seattle Police chief Jim Pugel will have the support of the Civic Alliance for a Sound Economy as they challenge eight other contenders on the Aug. 6 primary ballot.

“This really isn’t about ideology,” said CASE executive director Markham McIntyre. “It’s about results.”

McIntyre was joined by Seattle Metro Chamber president and CEO Marilyn Strickland in announcing the endorsements in all seven contested city council district races on Wednesday, June 19.

Questionnaires were sent out to some candidates, and a panel that included chamber members interviewed 19 council hopefuls.

“We tried to have a good mix of geography, type of business and size, but it was also based on time commitments,” McIntyre said about the panel.

Recommendations were made to the chamber’s executive committee, which made the final decision on endorsements.

CASE has raised about $800,000 to spend influencing this year’s city council election, with Amazon contributing $200,000 toward that effort. Expedia, which is moving most of its workforce to Interbay, and Vulcan have contributed $50,000, the Washington Association of Realtors has put in $25,000, and Comcast has contributed $15,000. Strickland confirmed major employers did play a part in the endorsement process.

“Yes, they have a voice in that, but it is a collective decision,” she said.

The chamber tapped candidates it felt could work with businesses to create policies that support the interests of the city and its neighborhoods, including addressing housing, homelessness and public safety, Strickland said.

Most district races received just one endorsement, but District 6 and District 7 had two. McIntyre said the responses of the candidates were strong enough that they want to see both advance to the Nov. 5 general election.

George and Pugel are among the seven District 7 candidates using the City of Seattle’s Democracy Voucher program, which means they’re limited to accepting $250 contributions, not including the $100 in Democracy Vouchers each voter is able to distribute to candidates they support. If a candidate in any district race hits $75,000 in contributions, the cap could be lifted, allowing Democracy Voucher candidates to then accept maximum contributions of $500, said Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission director Wayne Barnett.

McIntyre said CASE plans on engaging in independent expenditures to help those candidates who do have contribution limits — on its own and in partnership with other PACs and political groups. There are no limits on independent expenditures, meaning CASE or any other PAC could buy ads or send out mailers supporting a candidate, as long as the messages in them are not coordinated with their campaign, Barnett said.

City prosecutor Andrew Lewis, who is also using the Democracy Voucher program, has raised nearly $75,000 for his District 7 campaign, with Pugel close behind at $67,250, followed by George with $49,673. Microsoft product marketer Jason Williams is trailing George slightly, with about $44,379 raised as of Thursday, June 20.

George has the support of outgoing District 7 Councilmember Sally Bagshaw and King County Council District 4 candidate Amanda Doerr.

District 7 candidates Don Harper, Isabelle Kerner, James Donaldson and Lewis have confirmed they also sought support from CASE. Daniela Lipscomb-Eng and Williams said they did not receive a chamber questionnaire. Kerner said she sent hers in, but was not contacted for an interview.

“I am proud to have the support of a broad coalition of leaders in business, labor, the Democratic Party, and urbanists,” Lewis tells Queen Anne News in an email response. “I respect the decision of CASE to endorse other candidates. As a council member, my door will be open to all constituents, including business.”

EMC Research was commissioned by CASE — for $50,000 — to conduct a survey of potential 2019 voters to gauge public opinion about the current city council.

The phone survey — conducted from Dec. 6-20, 2018 — found 52 percent of respondents favored a change in the makeup of the council while 39 percent felt it deserved credit for the progress it’s made. Fifty-two percent disapproved of the job the council is doing while 43 percent approved.

District 5 Councilmember Debora Juarez is the only incumbent being supported by CASE in this election. Strickland said Juarez was willing to listen to concerns from business owners when the employee-hours (head) tax was being considered last year, and that she asked significant questions that never were addressed.