Ann Davison defeated Nicole Thomas-Kennedy in the general election for city attorney of Seattle, Washington, on Nov. 2, 2021. According to King County’s unofficial election results updated on Nov. 4, Davison received 55.1% of the vote to Thomas-Kennedy’s 44.1%.
Crosscut, a nonprofit Seattle news site, said the race was “one of clear contrasts and highlights just how divided the city is over issues of crime, public safety and criminal justice.” Another Seattle-based nonprofitpublication, the South Seattle Emerald, said the race “gets to the heart of a question all the more relevant since anti-police protests broke out in 2020: In Seattle, what do we consider justice and how should it be administered?”
Davison is a Seattle attorney and arbitrator. She ran as a Republican for lieutenant governor of Washington in 2020. Davison said the city needs “balanced leadership that makes us smart on crime: proactive not reactive” and said she would “focus on improving efficiencies within division in regards to zoning” and “transform existing Mental Health Court to specialized Behavioral Health Court for cases that involve mental health, substance use disorder or dual diagnosis.” Seattle news blog My Northwest described Davison “as more of an overt conservative, as a registered Republican who’s been vocal on her ‘tough on crime’ politics” compared to Thomas-Kennedy, whose “position as an ‘abolitionist’ in favor of ending the prosecution of low-level misdemeanors would represent a sizable shift in the City Attorney’s Office.”
Thomas-Kennedy is a former public defender and criminal and eviction attorney. She said the city “chooses to prosecute petty offenses born out of poverty, addiction and disability” and these prosecutions “further destabilize people who, in the world’s richest country, cannot get their basic needs met.” Instead of prosecuting low-level offenses, Thomas-Kennedy’s campaign website said she supported increasing the scope of the city’s education, job training, and addiction treatment programs and would “stop throwing away money on what we know does not work, and use the power and resources of the office to build community-based programs and solutions that prevent harm and result in truly healthy communities.”
In Seattle, the city attorney heads the city’s Law Department and supervises all litigation in which the city is involved. The city attorney supervises a team of assistant city attorneys who provide legal advice and assistance to the City’s management and prosecute violations of City ordinances.