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Law-and-order Republican defeats police abolitionist Democrat in race for Seattle city attorney

Noah Riffe/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

A law-and-order Republican on Tuesday defeated a Democratic candidate for Seattle city attorney who wanted to stop prosecuting misdemeanor crimes as a step toward abolishing the police.

Attorney Ann Davison (R) won 59% of the vote, defeating former public defender Nicole Thomas-Kennedy in the race to succeed incumbent City Attorney Pete Holmes (D). During her campaign, Davison said the City Attorney's Office is not a "place for a radical agenda," criticizing Holmes and Thomas-Kennedy for being too soft on crime.

At her campaign party on Election Night, Davison said the number of votes she received, more than 74,000, was "heartwarming and humbling."

She told a crowd of her supporters that there are too many people in Seattle who feel unsafe because of rising crime, including random attacks, drug use, car break-ins, and shoplifting, according to KOMO-TV.

"There is a way to have a balanced approach that we are providing a way to intervene with someone and to make sure we are centering victims of crime and collectively bringing together what is public safety in our city," Davison said.

During the campaign, she said misdemeanor crimes matter because they are being committed by serious offenders and can be "business ending, job ending and tax revenue ending" for Seattle residents.

The Democratic candidate, Thomas-Kennedy, trailed with 41% of the vote. A self-described abolitionist, Thomas-Kennedy campaigned on radically transforming the City Attorney's Office and ending prosecutions for misdemeanor crimes.

The Office of the Seattle City Attorney, also called the Law Department, operates with a $35 million budget and works with more than 100 attorneys across three divisions: criminal, civil, and administration.

Local news outlet KING-TV reported the criminal division is responsible for prosecuting misdemeanors, gross misdemeanors, and traffic infractions. Cases prosecuted include DUIs, misdemeanor assault and domestic violence, misdemeanor theft and trespassing.

The civil division represents the city of Seattle in lawsuits and advises city officials.

The administration division provides services for the office, including budgeting and human resources.

Thomas-Kennedy argued that prosecutions for misdemeanor crimes unfairly targeted poor and minority communities and wasted taxpayer dollars. She said that the city would be better served if defendants were referred to mental health, addiction, or restorative justice programs.

She also pledged to use the city's civil division to sue fossil fuel companies, defend progressive tax policies, and fight to overturn a state ban on affirmative action.

During the campaign, Thomas-Kennedy faced criticism for several provocative statements she made on social media, including about her "rabid hatred" for police and support for anti-police riots.

She claimed her statements were "deliberately inflammatory" and "absurdist satire."

Thomas-Kennedy was endorsed by Democratic Party organizations, labor unions, and dozens of criminal-defense and civil-rights attorneys.

Davison, who previously ran unsuccessfully for lieutenant governor, won the endorsements of three former governors, including Republican Dan Evans and Democrats Christine Gregoire and Gary Locke.

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