City Lauren Briel’s Kickoff
posted by June 28 at 17:22 PMon
Last night I eschewed the Washington Bus Project’s event at the Central Area Senior Center in favor of Jean Godden challenger Lauren Briel’s kickoff party at the Baltic Room on Capitol Hill.
For a first-time candidate with a shoestring budget and no name recognition, it was a respectable event—a small crowd of about 25, mostly in their 20s and 30s, gathered in the Baltic Room’s compact upstairs lounge. Over a buffet table that included salami, a large wheel of brie, hummus, and some fattening-looking twisty pastries (would’ve tried them, but I don’t like sweets), I talked with some of Briel’s fans about her campaign and chances. The odds, most admitted, aren’t good: Briel hasn’t raised enough money to get invited to interviews by many of the organizations that issue endorsements, meaning that the major endorsements will almost certainly go to one of her opponents—incumbent Jean Godden or fellow challenger Joe Szwaja, who have raised $160,000 and $23,350, respectively.
Nonetheless, Briel’s campaign manager told me, the campaign isn’t giving up hope. Briel plans to campaign from door to door, focusing on North Seattle neighborhoods like Wedgwood in an effort to get her name and face in people’s minds. (King County Council member Bob Ferguson used a similar tactic in his successful campaign against incumbent Cynthia Sullivan; however, he had money and some institutional support, two things Briel lacks.) In my opinion, Briel should play up the fact that she’s the only renter in the race—a relevant characteristic at a time when condo conversions and a growing population are pushing rents to unprecedented levels. It worked for Judy Nicastro, the incumbent Godden defeated, in 1999—eight years later, Seattle may be ready for another renters’ advocate (and renter) on the council.