Wow. So that’s what a big election looks like, eh? Needless to say there were some raised eyebrows round about 8:15 as the first results came charging out of laptops around the city. The big surprise? That after the first round of vote counts, incumbent Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels was not in first place, was not in second place, but was in third place, raising the specter of a primary round knockout.
In first place is Mike McGinn, the almost archetypally scrappy candidate, and right away, here’s the emerging storyline: the underfunded candidate inspires young people, young people put their time and energy into the underfunded candidate, underfunded candidate comes out on top.
It’s a pretty compelling story – almost like a Hollywood ending… except that it’s not over, nor is it entirely clear that it will be enough to get him through the primary, much less the general.
The key voting group that has yet to be heard from is young voters. Young voters vote late, and in this round they’re split between McGinn and second place finisher Joe Mallahan. With the race being so close – just 970 votes separate McGinn and Nickels – the youth vote could be the deciding factor.
And regardless of all else, there is a clear lesson to be drawn here: person to person voter contact trumps cash. The Bus has always been a firm believer in people power, and to see its immediate effects, regardless of the eventual outcome, is pretty amazing.